JafSoft's Introduction to the Internet

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7 Sites you should know about

7.1 Altavista

Visit AltaVista for full details.

Altavista is one of the Net's best search engines, with over 40 million web pages indexed.

7.1.1 Using Altavista

Using AltaVista is easy, simply type in some words that you want to search for. You should read the Help page for extra tips, and there is an Advanced Search function that allows you look for one word near another, and LiveTopics that will categorize the matches you've found to help you further select what you are interested in.

Tricks to be aware of include :-

7.1.2 Special searches

Altavista doesn't just index the text on a page, it also indexes the hyperlinks, titles etc. Thus typing the search string


will find all web pages with the string microsoft in the URL.


finds all pages that have hyperlinks pointing at the www.jafsoft.com site, and


finds all pages with flamingo in the title.

7.1.3 Translating web pages

Recently AltaVista has started offering to translate web pages on-line. This service is offered in the results of a search, but can also be used directly by going to


7.2 Dejanews

Visit DejaNews for full details.

Dejanews has all the postings ever made in newsgroups in a searchable database. The database is divided into current and old.

7.2.1 Finding postings

To find articles of interest, simply type in a few keywords. For each post found you can

7.2.2 Finding newsgroups

Dejanews now has a search for newsgroups feature. Simply type in a few keywords and see a ranked list of newsgroups where Dejanews believes articles containing these words are posted.

This is a perfect way of finding newsgroups that may be of interest to you.

7.2.3 Getting author profiles

Dejanews offers you author profiles, that is a list of the posts a person has made to various newsgroups. This can give you a feel for the interests and character of a person, and is increasingly being used (as is the Internet generally) to discover what job applicants are like.

This "Big brother" aspect of the Net is something you should be aware of. If you start posting to newsgroups and publishing web pages, you are placing that information in the public domain in a way that is easily archived and searched using modern technology.

7.3 RTFM

RTFM stands for Read the f******g Manual which was basically an oft-repeated plea to newbies to read the FAQS before posting the same old questions and making the same old mistakes.

Eventually one man decided to collect all the FAQs together so people could easily find them. This now vast repository can be found at RTFM FTP site.

7.3.1 Reading the FAQ's

The RTFM archive is an FTP site. In a browser FTP files appear as folders and directories much like they do on a PC. You can navigate round these folders to find the FAQ for the newsgroup you are interested in.

FAQ maintainers will normally update the copy on RTFM regularly, so this is a good place to start searching for such information.

Start here RTFM Usenet FAQ's.

7.3.2 Finding people's email addresses.

RTFM has a complete directory listing people's email addresses. These can be searched, although there are now more user-friendly ways of doing this (see Email addresses).

This database can be searched via email. For details send a message with the subject blank and the message set to

send usenet-addresses/help



7.4 Other search engines

7.4.1 Yahoo

Visit Yahoo.

Yahoo is one of the oldest and largest Internet directories around. Yahoo attempt to place each site into a suitable category. By selecting the categories you are interested in you can get a concentrated list of suitable sites.

All links in Yahoo are added by hand, which means it is difficult to get listed meaning their index is selective rather than comprehensive.

7.4.2 Infoseek

Visit Infoseek.

Another major search site. This site takes the same approach as Yahoo, namely putting sites into categories, but seems to offer more additional services such as finding people's email addresses.

7.4.3 Excite

Visit [h:Excite]

Excite is an up and coming search engine, which offer news services in addition to straight search engines.

7.4.4 WebCrawler

Visit WebCrawler

7.4.5 HotBot

Visit HotBot

This search engine puts fairly advanced search options on its front page. Most search engines have these options, usually under "advanced search".

7.4.6 MetaCrawler

Visit MetaCrawler

MetaCrawler is an interesting search engine in that is uses the other search engines to match your request and then collates the results.

7.5 The Internet movie database

If you're a film fan, visit Internet Movie Database.

7.6 Other sites

Here's a list of interesting sites. I've tried to only list sites that will act as good starting points for finding various types of information, or that you would visit regularly.

http://www.digital.com/info/rcfoc/ The rapidly changing face
technology. Discusses up
developments on the Net.
and coming
http://www.theonion.com/ Satirical newsletter  
http://www.thepubliceye.com/ Allows you to check up on
selling via the Net
http://www.virtualpromote.com/ Discusses promotion of web pages

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© 1997-1999 John A Fotheringham and JafSoft Limited
Last Minor Update : 4 December '99