"Christians And The Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 3, No. 12:  November 9, 2002
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.  CHRISTIAN HOME & SCHOOL: "PROTECTING YOUR FAMILY ONLINE"
2.  HOW MUCH MONEY CAN YOU SAVE ON THE WEB? YOU'D BE SURPRISED!
3.  FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: INFORMATION ON CATI NEWSLETTER
_______________________________________________________________

The latest revision of this issue of "CATI" can be accessed
online at http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati75.htm.  The
Web page edition makes it especially easy to visit the links.

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2002 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  See
the end of this issue for more information on "CATI."
_______________________________________________________________

1. CHRISTIAN HOME & SCHOOL: "PROTECTING YOUR FAMILY ONLINE"

The September 2002 issue of Christian Home & School magazine
contained an article I wrote entitled "Protecting Your Family
Online."

Christian Home & School: "Protecting Your Family Online" by
    Barry Traver
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-09/internet.shtml

In it you'll find hints on how to safeguard your household
when browsing the Web, using search engines, enjoying chat
rooms, and receiving e-mail.  Links to further resources are
also provided.

Since the original publication of the article, the address
for the "Kids Search Engines" page at SearchEngineWatch has
changed.  Here's the new address:

SearchEngineWatch: Kids Search Engines
  http://www.searchenginewatch.com/links/kids.html

Another article I wrote in which you may be interested was
published in the March/April 2002 issue of Christian Home &
School:

Christian Home & School:  "Rich Resources on the Web" by
    Barry Traver
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-03/internet.shtml

In that article I stated that "ZDNet’s SearchIQ provides a
list of over two dozen kid-safe search engines," but I am
afraid that such is no longer the case.  In fact, ZDNet's
SearchIQ seems to have been replaced by CNET's Search.com,
which does not seem to allow parents to turn on any filter
to make searches more "family-friendly" (such as Google
offers with its SafeSearch option).

One more article I wrote of possible interest to you was
published in the March/April 2001 issue of Christian Home &
School:

Christian Home & School: "An annotated list of Christian and
    general Web sites for kids" by Barry Traver
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-03/internet.shtml

Since the Web is ever-changing, some of the sites mentioned
now have different Web addresses:

Disney Surf Swell Island
  http://disney.go.com/surfswell/index.html

Looney Tunes Teach the Internet
  http://www.warnerbros.com/ltti/homepage.html

Tukids
  http://exp.tukids.tucows.com/

In addition, About Kids seems to have been replaced by About
Teens, and Berit's Best Sites for Children seems to no longer
be in existence <sigh>.  Fortunately, however, most of the
"rich resources" I recommended are alive and well and have
not moved.

Some of you may not be familiar with Christian Home & School
magazine.  Here's how it describes itself on its home page:

"Christian Home & School is published six times per year by
Christian Schools International in order to promote and
explain the concept of Christian Education while encouraging
Christian parents in their daily walk as disciples of Jesus,
and helping them to improve their parenting skills as a form
of discipleship."
  http://www.csionline.org/chs/

Yes, the magazine is especially intended for parents who have
their children enrolled in a member school of the following
organization:

Christian Schools International (Reformed)
  http://www.csionline.org/

The magazine is, however, one that contains articles that
should be of value to all Christian parents, whether their
children be Christian schooled, home schooled, or, for that
matter, public schooled.

Here are some examples of recent articles that were published
in Christian Home & School:

"Back-to-School Supplies" by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-09/feature.shtml

"The Battle" by Andrea Wieringa
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-05/feature.shtml

"A Gift for the Sheppards: A Christmas Story" by David P.
    Koning
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-12/feature.shtml

"Gratitude Deficit Disorder" by Kristen Witt
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-10/feature.shtml

"Growing Up Fast" by Ida Rose Heckard
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-01/feature.shtml

"Kids Who Yearn to Learn" by Alan Bandstra
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-10/feature.shtml

"Question-Friendly Families" by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2000-12/feature.shtml

"Right Brain, Left Brain" by Linda Riggs Mayfield
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-09/feature.shtml

"We’re Late" by Candy Arrington
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-03/feature.shtml

And here are the film reviews published by Christian Home
& School in the past two years:

A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-09/film.shtml

Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-09/film.shtml

Cats & Dogs
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-09/film.shtml

The Emperor's New Clothes
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-09/film.shtml

Finding Forrester
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-03/film.shtml

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-01/film.shtml

Hearts in Atlantis
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-12/film.shtml

Hey Arnold! The Movie
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-09/film.shtml

I Am Sam
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-03/film.shtml

Ice Age
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-05/film.shtml

Like Mike
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-09/film.shtml

Lilo & Stitch
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-09/film.shtml

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-01/film.shtml

Max Keeble's Big Move
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-12/film.shtml

My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-10/film.shtml

O
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-10/film.shtml

Pay It Forwardr
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2000-12/film.shtml

The Princess Diaries
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-10/film.shtml

Shrek
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-09/film.shtml

Snow Dogs
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-03/film.shtml

Spy Kids
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-10/film.shtml

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-10/film.shtml

Taliesin Jones
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-05/film.shtml

Thirteen Days
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-03/film.shtml

By the way, what you have here is not an authoritative list of
films recommended for Christians, but comments on significant
films by various individual Christian reviewers.  Not all
movies are enthusiastically endorsed (in fact, some may not
be appropriate for children or some teenagers), but here is
a resource where you can read the thoughts of an intelligent
Christian who has seen the film.

You may or may not agree with the conclusions of the reviewer.
It is up to you to use your intelligence to draw your own
conclusions as you read the comments of the reviewer.  My
wife Sharon and I happen to be film buffs (the time and
attention some devote to sports, we devote to movies), and
we find it helpful to consider the opinions of different
critics when deciding what is worth seeing.  One especially
helpful resource we have found is this:

Rotten Tomatoes
  http://www.rottentomatoes.com/

You can't just "go by the numbers" (most of the film critics
do not use Christian criteria in their assessments), but at
this site you have access often to hundreds of reviews of the
same movie, and you'll find much helpful information on the
film.  (You may also find a film critic who thinks the same
way you do most of the time!)

You may consider movies a waste of time (or worse), and that's
fine.  You may spend as much time watching films as we spend
watching sports (which is no time at all).  But Christian Home
& School contains other things besides film reviews:  you will
also find book reviews, editorials, comments on television,
and more material that may be helpful to parents in bringing
up their children.

The Web site makes available only selected articles and
columns to give you an idea of what Christian Home & School
has to offer.  If you like what you read on the Web, you may
want to subscribe to the magazine:

Christian Home & School:  Subscription Information
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/subscription_form.html

Whether or not you subscribe, I hope that you will take
advantage of being able to read these articles on their
Web site:

Christian Home & School: "Protecting Your Family Online" by
    Barry Traver
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-09/internet.shtml

Christian Home & School:  "Rich Resources on the Web" by
    Barry Traver
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2002-03/internet.shtml

Christian Home & School: "An annotated list of Christian and
    general Web sites for kids" by Barry Traver
  http://www.gospelcom.net/csi/chs/2001-03/internet.shtml

Enjoy!
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2. HOW MUCH MONEY CAN YOU SAVE ON THE WEB? YOU'D BE SURPRISED!

Or maybe you wouldn't.  Last month I saved $180, and you may
be interested in the story of how it was done, because you
may be able to save in a similar way yourself (or perhaps you
already are doing so).

In the mail my wife got a brochure which offered a video DVD
package which she thought (and I did also) would make a great
birthday present for our son.  (His birthday is in January and
that hasn't come yet, so at this time I can't be more specific
about the set.)  The problem is that the price of the 14 discs
was approximately $200, according to the brochure.  And yet it
was something we were sure John Calvin would enjoy immensely.
So what to do?

It was time to compare prices on the Web!  Doing so, we found
the same set for about $110, a savings of $90.  (I found out
later I could have saved even more if I had shopped around a
bit more.)  The same site that showed me stores and prices
for this particular item also told me how stores rated in
terms of customer satisfaction.  I ordered from a "five star"
store, and we were not disappointed.  Within a matter of days
the product arrived, brand-new, shrink-wrapped, and in perfect
condition.

Now you may or may not think it is good stewardship to spend
$110 on 14 DVD disks.  In our case, we thought it was, since
Notre Dame was now assuming the cost of our son's education
(he was awarded a full-tuition scholarship plus a Presidential
fellowship for the Ph.D. program there) and we were happy as
parents to be able to splurge a bit at this point (since we
were not now as financially restricted as in previous years).
But that's not the point.  The point is that whatever you may
want or need to buy, the Web can often help you get it at less
cost.

Want to see some specific prices?  Let's pretend that what we
wanted to get for John Calvin was The Art of Buster Keaton.
Buster Keaton was a great comedian of silent film (greater, in
my personal opinion, than the better-known Charlie Chaplin).
This DVD set includes 11 features (including The General,
which may be one of the best films ever made) and 19 shorts.
The suggested retail price is $199.95.  You can get the set
from Tower Records for $197.94 or from CD Now for $195.55
(not much of a savings!).

Here's how to compare prices.  Go to http://google.com and
search for the following:

     "The Art of Buster Keaton" compare price

Web pages will turn up from various price comparison sites,
including the following:

BizRate.com
  http://video.bizrate.com/marketplace/

Epinions.com
  http://www.epinions.com/

NexTag
  http://www.nextag.com/

Yahoo.com
  http://shopping.yahoo.com/

(Those are currently my four favorites, but I also check
others.  After you decide on your own favorite sites, you
can, of course, go to them directly rather than use Google.
At Epinions.com, it can be seen that The Art of Buster Keaton
(full set) can be ordered from Deep Discount DVD (a five-star
store) for $119.98 (including shipping), which is about $80
less than what you might pay elsewhere.

Our own savings on the DVD set we got our son was about $90.
So what about the other $90 we saved?  Well, we own a Xerox
XD155df digital copier/laser printer.  Not only did our toner
cartridge run out, but also we had no spare on hand.  I went
to the local Staples store, and the price was about $198.  I
went to the Staples Web site, and I found that their price was
about $183.50.  I went to the Xerox Web site, and I found that
their price was about $180.  I did a price comparison search,
and I found at NexTag a number of vendors selling this item
for about $155 or so (the new official Xerox item, not simply
a compatible or refurbished item).  Thus we saved at least $45
a cartridge (actually, we saved $90 or more, because we bought
two cartridges).

IMPORTANT:  It's good to know that many local stores have a
"price match" policy.  Staples is one of these.  If you can
prove that the lower price is a normal selling price and that
the vendor has the item in stock, your local store may match
the price.  Our local Staples did, in fact, honor their "price
match" policy, so we got the toner cartridges from our local
Staples at a savings of $45 or so each.

Sometimes the savings aren't that dramatic.  For example, this
week I was only able to save about $10 off the normal price of
$70 for Norton SystemWorks (but then again, the package came
with a $30 rebate, so my final cost for this product will be
about $30, so I will be getting it at less than half-price
anyway.)  And if the item is expensive to ship, there may be
no advantage to the Web.

The Web can save you money, even if you don't find a cheaper
price on the Web.  I'm fussy, for instance, about clothes
hangers, and for years I've looked for a place to buy "blonde
suit hangers with lock bar."  (There's something about wood
that I like, and the lock bar keeps the trousers in place.)
I finally got smart and decided to search the Web, only to
find that a set of five such hangers was available for $6.99
at Bed Bath and Beyond, which was also the price at our local
Bed Bath and Beyond Store for which we happened to have a
discount coupon (and, yes, they did have them in stock).

If you do buy on the Web, my advice is ordinarily to buy
only from companies that have a high customer satisfaction
rating.  It is also a good idea to buy from a company that
has a toll-free phone number and a "real" mailing address
(not just a P.O. box).  If you're using a charge card, be
sure the site is secure (your browser may indicate that by
showing a padlock in a bottom corner), which means that no
one can see your credit card number except you and the
store (and no one between you and the store).

My next planned purchase through the Web is some ties.  I
am planning to try out a vendor called "2002 Ties," which
claims to have "the largest, online selection of novelty
neckties in Canada."  (Like Carl Trueman of Westminster
Seminary, Philadelphia, I have a liking for cartoon ties.)
Since I live in the U.S., why would I buy from a Canadian
vendor?  Here are some advantages:

"Please note that all prices are in Canadian funds. exchange
rate (Example:$10 tie is $6.39 in US funds). Your credit card
company automatically does the currency exchange for you. No
tax is charged for US and international destinations. All
shipping is $5 in canadian funds, a flat fee for 1 tie or 20
ties."
  http://2002ties.com/english.html

If you're considering buying your ties online (and if your
tastes are out of the ordinary), here's a helpful list of
places where you can buy ties you never knew existed:

GalahLinks.com: Neckties
  http://www.galahlinks.com/Shopping_and_Food/Clothing/Men_s/Neckties/

(Some of the vendors on the list do sell ordinary ties as
well.)

In an earlier article in CATI, I gave some advice about how to
save money in buying books on the Web:

CATI: Buying Books and/or Reading Books on the Web
  http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati46.htm#1

It needs to be updated (it was published over a year and a
half ago), but you'll still find a lot of helpful information
in it, I think.

I'm hoping to revise it for a future issue of CATI, but for
now let me make some comments here on one excellent source
of Christian books:

Westminster Bookstore
  http://wts.edu/bookstore/

It is especially strong on scholarly titles, but it includes
many Christian titles of general interest as well.  You will
find great prices on their Web site plus special offers that
are not available to walk-in customers but are available to
those who order books from them through the Web.

Example:  During November (until November 31) you can get
Daryl Hart's Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the
Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America at
half price ($8.50 rather than $16.99), but you have to order
the book through the Web.  Here's where (for now) you can
read about the special offer:

Daryl Hart's Defending the Faith
  http://wts.edu/bookstore/newsletter.html#view_review_3

And here are some books that carry a special 30% discount for
the month of November only (mentioned on the same Web page):

Raymond Dillard and Tremper Longman III, An Introduction to
     the Old Testament
Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., ed., Redemptive History and Biblical
     Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos
Michael S. Horton, Covenant and Eschatology: The Divine Drama
Michael S. Horton, ed., Confessing Theology for Postmodern
     Times
J.G. McConville, Apollos Commentary on the Old Testament:
     Deuteronomy
Danny E. Olinger & David K. Thompson, eds., History for a
     Pilgrim People: The Historical Writings of Charles G.
     Dennison (former church historian for the Orthodox
     Presbyterian Church)
Paul David Tripp, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to
     Parenting Teens
Bruce Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary
Ed Welch, Blame it on the Brain?: Distinguishing Chemical
     Imblances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience
To keep up with the Web specials at Westminster Bookstore,
sign up for their free monthly newsletter near the top of
their home page.

Incidentally, ministers and other serious students of the
Bible and theology should check out the offerings on this
special Westminster Bookstore Web page:

Westminster Bookstore: Greatly Discounted Sets
  http://wts.edu/bookstore/sets.html

Minimum discount on this page seems to be 30%, and many
(maybe most) sets are offered at a 35%, 40%, or even 50%
discount!

Well, we've looked at DVD videos, copier toner cartridges,
men's neckties, computer software, suit hangers, and books
as specific examples of how you can save money on the Web.
Many more examples could be given (and perhaps may be given
in future issues, with an emphasis on what is available for
free).

Closing thought:  you aren't saving money if the Web tempts
you to buy things you would not otherwise have bought.  If
you spend $25 for a useless item that normally costs $75,
you haven't "saved" $50:  you've wasted $25!  The Web can
be a resource that can save you money, but good Christian
stewardship includes simply finding the best prices, but
using Biblical principles throughout all the decisions
that you make regarding what God has entrusted to your
care.


Digression:  E.B. White's children's book Stuart Little has a
section dealing with "Stuart's ship."  Anyone who has read
the book knows that.  What few people know is that Stuart was
a Presbyterian mouse.  His Reformed understanding of God's
call to him to "love his neighbor" led him to share the
message of God's Word in love to his feline friends, some of
whom also became good Presbyterians.  Since Stuart was Small
(he was a Little mouse) and most cats were Taller, it was
very difficult to follow the Biblical command, "Greet one
another with a holy kiss" (1 Cor. 16:20), but finally he did
find a Shorter cat to kiss 'im. <groan>
_______________________________________________________________

3. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: INFORMATION ON CATI NEWSLETTER

Like to know what this is?  This is the seventy-fifth 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").

Like to subscribe to this free email newsletter?  Just send an
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Like to pass along this issue to others?  You may.  Permission
is hereby granted to pass along any issue of CATI to someone
else, provided that it is passed along in its entirety with no
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Like to use material from this newsletter (say, on a Web page
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Like to tell your friends about CATI?  That is not only much
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a lot of work (albeit a labor of love) and (since it is a free
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let me hear from you!)

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2002 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.