"Christians and the Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 2, No. 2:  January 31, 2001.
_______________________________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. GEORGE W. BUSH AFTER-DINNER STORY: ANOTHER EMAIL HOAX?
2. WANTED: ALPHA-TESTERS FOR TRAVER WINDOWS NOTEPAD PROGRAM
3. BOOK REVIEW: CHRISTIAN PARENT'S GUIDE TO...THE INTERNET...
4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER
_______________________________________________________________

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2001 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.
_______________________________________________________________

1. GEORGE W. BUSH AFTER-DINNER STORY: ANOTHER EMAIL HOAX?

Perhaps you received, as I did, the following email (or one
similar to it) from a friend and you wondered whether it was
an accurate report or simply another email hoax:
________________________________

"Benoit is a man in our church who has a friend who served
on President Elect Bush's campaign in Austin.  She (Jeff's
friend) called him to tell this story. Last week, Gov. Bush
appeared at the thank-you banquet for his campaign staff,
and was going table to table to shake hands with the 1000+
campaign volunteers.  He got to one lady, who by a brief
comment she made, indicated she was a Christian. She was
there with her 16 year old son.  Gov. Bush asked him if he
was a believer, too.  He said he didn't think so. Gov. Bush
then asked, "Do you mind if I tell you how I came to know
Christ?"  The boy agreed, and Gov. Bush pulled up a chair
and spoke with him for about 30 minutes and even led him in
prayer.  Jeff's friend was so choked up, she could hardly
tell the story through tears.  Bravo, Mr. President."
________________________________

Well, according to the January 27, 2001 issue of World
magazine this email message seems to be a hoax:

"George W. Bush drew a high percentage of conservative,
Christian votes, but WORLD reader Alex Vance wanted to know
whether it was true that the president-elect was involved
in drawing a teenage boy to Christ. Our inquiring reader
questioned a widely circulated e-mail reporting that Mr.
Bush recently led a 16-year-old boy to faith in Christ.
According to the e-mail, Mr. Bush spent 30 minutes with
the teen after a thank-you banquet for about 1,000
campaign volunteers. Alas, the story appears not to be
true."
  http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/01-27-01/opening_4.asp

Here are the details, as supplied by World magazine in a
column titled "The Buzz":

"The question came up at a Jan. 9 Bush-Cheney transition
press briefing, and spokesmen Ari Fleischer and Dan Bartlett
knew nothing of any such event. 'I don't recall any banquet
with 1,000 campaign workers or volunteers,' Mr. Bartlett
said. Last week, a transition official repeated to WORLD
doubts about the e-mail story. Then we checked with the
supposed source of the account. Dennis Lake of Prestonwood
Baptist Church, Plano, Texas, says he was wrongly cited as
the source of the e-mail, and he and church staff fielded
hundreds of calls. 'Somebody put my name at the top of the
e-mail.'"
  http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/01-27-01/opening_4.asp

The version of the email I received did not mention Dennis
Lake as the source of the story (rather the story allegedly
came from a "friend" - no name given - of someone apparently
named Jeff Benoit - described as "a man in our church," even
though the church was not identified), but it was indeed the
same story, complete with the GOP political banquet for 1000
Bush campaign workers and the 16-year-old boy.

President Bush may or may not be an evangelical Christian,
but this after-dinner story appears to be bogus.  If you
get a copy, ignore it (other than to tell the person who
sent it to you that it seems to be another email hoax).

Incidentally, I searched on the Web for more on the story,
and only World seemed to take time to check out the facts.
The same column in World ("The Buzz") also included these
interesting news stories:

"Yes, claims that a full recount in Florida would have given
Al Gore the presidency are far from proven. The Palm Beach
Post (Jan. 14) recounted Miami-Dade County and found that
it did not give Mr. Gore thousands of extra votes, as his
partisans claimed it would. When the press recount - flawed,
as all such counts at this point inevitably are - was done,
George W. Bush had gained six more votes than had Mr. Gore.

"And no, Mr. Bush did not win the popular vote nationwide.
Several wishful readers requested that WORLD check out
a report that he had. The report, originally published
at www.originalsources.com, resulted from an error in
tabulating votes from Michigan. The website corrected
the error on Dec. 20, but the old report continues to
circulate on the Internet. Mr. Bush lost the popular vote
by 533,001 votes."

  http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/01-27-01/opening_4.asp

The World article doesn't mention it, but even though Bush
may not have won the popular vote (which was very close), he
not only won the electoral college vote but also carried 60
per cent of the states.  That is, 30 out of the 50 states in
the United States voted for Bush, and only 20 voted for Gore.

Looked at from that perspective, the presidential race may
not have been as close as reported.  In fact, someone on a
TV political show on PBS claimed that close to 80 per cent
of the counties in the U.S. voted for Bush; Gore carried far
fewer counties, but the 20 per cent or so he carried included
the counties representing urban, heavily populated areas,
which resulted in both candidates getting approximately half
of the popular vote.  (On the Internet I confirmed the
statistics for the states, but thus far I've been unable
to find confirmation of those statistics on the percentage
of counties carried by Bush and Gore, so they may not be
fully accurate.)

By the way, to check the archives at the World magazine Web
site, you do need to register, but it doesn't cost any money
to do so.

My wife and I have been fans of World since the magazine
began.  If you like what you see on their Web site, you may
want to consider subscribing.

If you would like to receive World in the mail (that's U.S.
Postal Service, not email) on a regular basis, simply call
1-800-951-NEWS (6397) to do so.  You can start with a trial
subscription (eight issues for just $5) or you can sign up
for a standard subscription (one year for $49.95, six months
for $24.95).

And, no, this is not a paid advertisement, but rather simply
a personal recommendation.  We think the world of World (in
a manner of speaking).  It's one of our favorite magazines.
_______________________________________________________________

2. WANTED: ALPHA-TESTERS FOR TRAVER WINDOWS NOTEPAD PROGRAM

Like many people, sometimes you may want to use a simple text
editor rather than a more complicated word processor.  For
example, a text editor is good for such things as editing Web
pages or writing newsletters like "CATI."  In such situations
(at least if you're running Windows), you may usually turn to
Microsoft Notepad (for little reason other than that "it's
there").

But Microsoft Notepad has many limitations, and Microsoft has
made very few improvements to the program during the years
that the program has been around.  Yes, they did finally get
around to making "Word Wrap" the default (I don't know if I
have ever met anyone who used Notepad without wanting to have
"Word Wrap" turned on!), but otherwise Notepad continues to
have pretty much the same limitations with which it began.

Well, I finally got around to writing my own "Traver Notepad"
with features I wanted that were lacking in Microsoft Notepad.
In fact, I am using Traver Notepad right now to write this
article.  If you're tired of the limitations of Microsoft's
Notepad program and want to try an alternative text editor,
you may be interested in my program (which is written in a
computer programming language known as Visual Basic).  I am
looking for some people to "alpha-test" the program.

You've probably heard of "beta-testing," but you may not have
heard of "alpha-testing" before.  I'll explain the difference,
which gives me an opportunity to present some "Traver Trivia"
as well as talk a bit about the Greek alphabet.

For "alpha" and "beta" are the first two letters of the Greek
alphabet.  In fact, we get our word "alphabet" from the Greek
"alpha beta...."  In the phrase "Alpha and Omega" (Revelation
1:8 and related passages), the idea is essentially that God
is the beginning and the end -- the "A" and the "Z," so to
speak -- of all there is (since omega is the last letter in
the Greek alphabet, just as alpha is the first).

Beta-testers test what is hoped to be the "final" version of
a new software program, but programmers -- being realistic --
don't refer to such testers as omega-testers.  Instead, such
testers are called beta-testers because they are the next step
after the program has been tested by alpha-testers (that's
logical, right?).

So I'm looking for some people willing to be alpha-testers,
since my program (although already possessing many features
lacking in Microsoft Notepad) is far from finished.  If you
are interested in alpha-testing Traver Notepad, one benefit
you will have is being able to suggest new features that you
would like to see included.  Also, after the program is put
into final form, I'll probably release it as shareware ("try
before you buy" software), but alpha-testers will be able to
have a copy for frere of the final version when it is
officially released.

Some of the features currently in Traver Notepad I wrote for
my own use.  For example, with a click of the mouse you can
convert an issue of "CATI" from text format to HTML format
(including creating working links as well as working internal
bookmarks that tie together table of contents with individual
articles).  (I will probably remove that particular feature
from the public version or perhaps adapt it for more generic
purposes.)  Likewise a simple keypress of CTRL-L will insert
a "CATI"-style line at the cursor.

But there are lots of other things that Traver Notepad can do.
As with recent versions of Microsoft Notepad, Traver Notepad
will allow you to set the font (type, size, etc.).  Unlike
Microsoft Notepad, however, Traver Notepad allows you to set
a different font for the printer than you set for the display.
For example, you may want to use a larger font on the screen
for better visibility but want to use a smaller font when you
print the text out to save paper.

Another added feature in Traver Notepad is an "MRU" ("Most
Recently Used") file list on the File menu.  Like many other
programs (but unlike Microsoft Notepad), my Traver Notepad
remembers the most recently used documents for which the
program was used.  (Right now my program remembers the last
ten files, but I'll probably allow the user to adjust the
number to what they want, within certain limits.)

Another advantage of Traver Notepad is that it remembers its
position and size from the last time that it was used so that
you don't have to re-adjust it brand-new each time that you
use it.  When you first start the program, you are provided
also with a "Tip of the Day" (right now I'm using Scripture
verses for that purpose), but you can choose whether to turn
that feature on or off.

When you're working on a text file, Traver Notepad allows
you to insert another text file at the beginning, at the end,
or somewhere in between at the cursor.  Traver Notepad also
offers "Find" and "Replace" functions (you can make them
"Case Sensitive" and/or "Whole Word Only"), while Microsoft
Notepad does not offer a "Replace" function.  Traver Notepad
also has "Undo" and "Redo" functions (in case you delete a
paragraph accidentally, for example, and want to bring it
back).

There are also some features that are more esoteric.  For
example, if you load in a Web page written in HTML, Traver
Notepad has a choice on the menu that will extract all of
the URLs ("Universal Resource Locators," which is simply a
fancy term for Web addresses) from the document.  Another
esoteric feature I wrote for myself is a menu choice that
will split up a file containing email messages (exported
from Pegasus, which is the main program I use for email)
into separate files (one for each email message).

Another unusual item on the menu is the "Music" item, which
allows you to load in an MP3 or MIDI file and listen to it
while you work.  (Now, I'll bet you haven't seen many other
text editors with that particular feature! <grin>)

Right now Traver Notepad is unfinished, as I said, so here
is your opportunity to suggest features you might like to
see in the program if you use a text editor from time to
time.  If you are interested in alpha-testing the program,
you should be running at least Windows 95 or 98 (Windows
ME or "Millennial Edition" is best).

Anyway, let me know if you are interested in being involved
in this project.  Incidentally, I should mention to you that
NO remuneration is involved (although you do have, as I said,
an opportunity to take an active part in the shaping of this
software and you will also be entitled to a free copy of the
final version).  (If you do decide to take part, I will let
you know where and how you can download the alpha version of
Traver Notepad from the Internet.)
_______________________________________________________________

3. BOOK REVIEW: CHRISTIAN PARENT'S GUIDE TO...THE INTERNET...

I mentioned the book A Christian Parent's Guide to Making the
Internet Family Friendly by Brian Lang and Bill Wilson (Thomas
Nelson Publishers, 1999) in two previous issues of "CATI":

HAVING A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW & SETTING BIBLICAL BOUNDARIES
  http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati44.htm#2

WHAT'S IN A NAME (AN INTERNET DOMAIN, THAT IS)?
  http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati41.htm#2

I told you that "in spite of a few peculiarities, this [book
by Lang and Wilson] is one of the very few worthwhile books
currently available for Christians about the Internet."  I
also told you that "More comments [were] planned for a future
issue of CATI."  This article is that attempt to provide a
more adequate book review for you in case you are considering
purchase of the book.

If you can't find it in your local bookstore, you can order it
from Amazon.com for $12.99 (full retail price, no discount,
plus you have to pay shipping and handling <sigh>):

Brian Lang & Bill Wilson, A Christian Parent's Guide to Making
    the Internet Family Friendly
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0785275681/travertabletalk

Barnes and Noble offers it for the same price.  If you do some
looking around you may be able to find it for a better price.

Last month, for example, I saw some copies of the book being
sold for only $4.50!  There's a chain called "Book Market"
that specializes ordinarily in books that are remaindered or
overstock.  Book Market will rent a storefront temporarily for
a few weeks to offer their wares.  We've picked up some real
bargains there, but you have to catch them when they first
open to get the best bargains.  Anyway, Book Market was in the
area recently and they were selling the book for $4.50, so you
may want to keep your eyes open.

The book is fairly small (172 pages, 5" x 8"), but it is very
readable and contains a lot of useful information.  The book
comes with a free CD-ROM containing some free software (e.g.,
a free Christian computer game), but I have to confess that I
haven't even looked at what is on the CD.

Most chapters start out with an easy-to-read incident in the
life of the "Webb" family and then go on to explain a related
aspect of the Internet.  Most chapters end with a glossary of
"Terms to Remember" and a list of "Resources" (in general,
these are Web sites you can visit for additional help with
the topic).

Here are the individual chapters in the book, along with some
short comments:

1. The Internet: Traveling the Information Superhighway

A quick introduction to the Internet, the "Webb" family, and
the book, which hopes to be "an insightful and useful guide
for parents."

2. Chat: The CB Radio of the Internet

As the authors say, "Online chat is one of the Internet's
most popular features."  This chapter provides some advice
and cautions for the "three primary mediums of online chat....
Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Web-based chat, and chat at an
online service such as...America Online...."

3. Family Boundaries

Families need to take concrete steps to deal Christianly with
the Internet.  The following CATI article gives you a sampling
of some of the important emphases of this chapter:

HAVING A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW & SETTING BIBLICAL BOUNDARIES
  http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati44.htm#2

4. Search Engines, Education, and Learning

This chapter presents some ideas on how to successfully locate
useful information on the Web while at the same time avoiding
offensive material.

5. Online Commerce: The Interactive Toll Road

This chapter tells how you can use the Internet to do things
like make travel arrangements, do home shopping, and pay
bills -- all online!

6. The Family-Friendly Internet

Important to this chapter is the list of "Internet resources
available to Christian families."

7. The Virtual Office, E-Mail, and Netiquette

Email is a great feature of the Internet, but it can present a
challenge to parents.  Here's a sample of some helpful advice
from the authors:

"As in other areas of the Net, parents need to set certain
rules for E-mail use. Rule number one is to make sure your
children ask you before giving out their E-mail address.
Rule number two is parents should regularly monitor the
E-mail software their kids use.... Dozens of ... E-mail
clients are available at no charge on the Internet, and
parents should never assume that their children have just
one E-mail address.... [For example, there is an] abundance
of free E-mail accounts that can be acquired on the World
Wide Web" (pages 67-68).

8. UseNet: Danger on the Highway

Parents should exercise serious caution when it comes to
UseNet newsgroups.  Here is the authors' judgment on the
situation:

"UseNet is not a place where your children should dwell.  If
they do, and they are doing it without close supervision,
they are taking a genuine walk on the wild side. Usenet is
like a public bulletin board system that contains a
voluminous collection of discussion topics. Anyone can 'post'
their thoughts, opinions, advice, photographs, and even
software in the discussion groups.... UseNet can be a
wonderful asset for those who use it the way it was intended.
However, because of the way it is organized, it poses a
parental challenge" (page 77).

9. The "Red-Light" District of the Internet

This chapter offers advice on how you can protect your family
from sexually explicit sites on the Web.

10. It's Not Free Speech, It's Breaking the Law

This chapter provides more advice on how to protect your
children from online pornography.

11. Online Ministry

The chapter title here may be a bit misleading, because only
one type of "online ministry" is really discussed (i.e., the
use of online chats to minister to others one-on-one).

12. The Interactive Revolution

The Internet offers challenges and opportunities.  In this
chapter, the authors discuss how Christians can take
advantage of the "Interactive Revolution":

"One consistent theme permeates the Internet: Netizens are
seeking. Not unlike the physical world, Internet citizens
are seeking information, control, respect, relationships, and
to understand themselves and others. And like the physical
world, Netizens are seeking spiritual food. To make a
positive contribution to the Internet culture, Christians
and the church must identify the needs of the audience and
invite opportunities for further dialog and communication....
The caring, concern, and support church members show one
another can be very evident online through Web publishing,
discussion threads, and real-time chat" (page 123).

13. Recognizing and Overcoming Internet Addiction

Like many other activities, Internet activity can run the
risk of becoming addictive.  This chapter gives advice on
dealing with that problem.

14. Logging Off, Looking Ahead

This chapter contains some concluding comments:

"By digesting Making the Internet Family Friendly, you now
should be relatively informed to use the Internet (instead of
being used by it). Let's embrace the Internet and make it our
own. Our children's future will increasingly be found online.
Let's make that future something with which we are familiar"
(page 147).

15. Signature File

Here we have some background information about the authors,
Brian Lang and Bill Wilson.  They never explicitly provide
a statement of faith, but they appear to be "ecumenical
evangelicals," i.e., conservative Christians working within
the context of mainline denominations.  In general the
Christian sites that are recommended (e.g., Focus on the
Family) are evangelical, but suggested denominational sites
are for broader denominations (like the Episcopal Church).

There is one strange situation related to the book, which I
mentioned in a previous CATI article:  Web addresses given
for the authors don't work!

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 a number of times in the book,
including twice on page 171), but when you try to access the
site, you're taken to a Web page that says this:  "...This
Domain Name is FOR SALE.... Purchase Your Piece of Cyber
Real Estate Today!!"

In addition, when you 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 mentioned
on page 171 of the book), your browser tells you "Cannot
find server or DNS error" or something similar.

I've asked Thomas Nelson Publishers about this strange
situation, but I have not yet received a response.  The
book by Lang and Wilson in many respects is an excellent
book, but I'm not sure what to say about the inaccessible
and/or nonexistent Web sites to which customers of the book
are referred.  It is somewhat of a strange situation.

Nevertheless, the book is a worthwhile one, in spite of a
few eccentricities and idosyncrasies.  Check it out!
_______________________________________________________________

4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER

This is the forty-seventh 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 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) 2001 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.