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        Copyright (C) 1994 The News & Observer Publishing Co.   
The NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/13/94, Edition N, NET.RIDER


Today, we remember what it was that drew us to the on-line world to begin with: goofy and useful stuff that you can get for free over the Internet and your on-line service.

In our never-ending quest to bring you, the on-line public, the coolest net sites available, we've scanned our lists, solicited favorites from the N&O's crack net-surfing news researchers, and spent far too many hours bouncing around the nets in search of new and hip stuff.

To reach the items on our list, you'll need a computer, a modem, an on-line service and Internet access. If you're comfortable using Internet tools like gopher and Lynx, you can jump straight to the list. If you're not, check out the accompanying story for a few pointers.

Without further ado:

No feds on this wiretap: Some of the coolest stuff on the Internet winds up on the Internet Wiretap's gopher in Cupertino, Calif. From electronic books ("Dracula," "Zen & the Art of the Internet" and scores of others) to federal documents (congressional bills, the full text of the Brady handgun act) to humor (of the computer variety), if it's hip (or even marginally useful) it's probably here. Point your gopher to "".

An Apple a day... Want to find out the latest news from Apple Computer without waiting for overpriced magazines? Go to the source, which by a strange coincidence is also in Cupertino. (To Apple-philes, Cupertino is the same kind of mythic place that Redmond, Wash., is to Microsoft groupies, which is to say, Cupertino is Apple's home base.) A great plus at this site is a link to a huge Mac freeware and shareware site. Gopher to "".

Who cares what Roger Ebert says? This is so cool that we're kind of bummed that we didn't know about it until someone in News Research told us: a searchable film database. Connect to it, select the searching option and type "Welles" and get a list of all the great flicks that our boy Orson had any involvement in. Also at this site is a searchable acronym database, so you can look up the real meaning of WYSIWYG. Gopher to and select the "miscellaneous items" option (between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. our time, please, since this thing's in England, and you don't want to tie it up during working hours).

Hear ye, hear ye... You may as well call this site "Government Stuff 'r' Us" SEC documents, Federal Reserve Board info, and General Services Admistration stuff. There's also a searchable patent database. If you want to make sure no one else has invented a "swivelable pre-gripper of a sheet-fed printing press" (someone has) this be the place. Gopher to ""

Good boy, Rover! It may not look like a dog, but your computer can do a pretty good job of retreiving the paper -- and a bunch of magazines -- without the tooth marks and slobber of conventional dogs.

Here's a brief list:

A pile of electronic magazines can be found at the Electronic Newstand. Gopher to "".

Parts of Mother Jones Magazine (along with a copy of the list of Frequently Asked Questions about Rush Limbaugh) can be gophered at "".

Parts of The News & Observer (some stories, columns and classifieds) can be gotten free over the Internet through the paper's own gopher (links to some of the net sites on this list can be found in the depths of this gopher as well.) Connect to "".

Spectator Magazine can be reached on the Triangle-based Interpath's computers. Gopher to "".

Calling all Computer Geeks: Two of the highest-profile computer-users' rights organizations can be reached over the Internet. Gopher to "" for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's list of position papers and various calls to arms. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility can be found by gophering to "" where you'll find cryptography information and position papers.

"Jack into the Matrix": If those words mean anything to you, then you must know of cyberpunk science fiction. And one of the best repositories of cyberpunk information (including author and movement spokeman Bruce Sterling's recommended reading list and the Future Culture FAQ), is at the Zilker Internet Park in Austin, Texas. Bruce is No. 7 on the list. Gopher to "".

Shootout at the Internet Corral: Think you're an Internet Cowboy? Then go for your guns: try the Internet Hunt. It's published every month, and the hot data jockeys often return complete answers within hours. It's item No. 15 after you gopher to "". This also has old hunts and questions, so you can practice up.

Satellite office: We use this two times a week, easy, and we've been known to use it for hours at a swipe when we're planning camping trips: satellite images of cloud cover over the U.S., updated every few hours and always available for download. It's complicated, but worth it. Gopher to "" and select "images" then "satellite images" then "satellite east IR", the "00latest.gif."

This will transfer the file to your on-line service's computer, where you can download it to your home computer over your modem. Then you can view the file with a special type of program that views "gif" or "graphical interchange format" files. Shareware versions can usually be found in your service's software database. Search it for "gif".

Pizza Pizza e-mail e-mail: This is pointless, but very cool. When we lamented a few weeks ago that we couldn't get a pizza over the Internet, Erika Grams e-mailed us to let us know we could at least get a picture of a pizza via e-mail, which is close enough for us. You must be able to download and view gif files (see above) from your mail program for this to work: send e-mail to "pizza@[obsolete]" with "pizza" in the subject line and a description of the pizza you want in the body of the message. This will trigger an automated two-message e-mail exchange that will ultimately deliver a picture of a pizza.

When we say Webster we don't mean Noah: We mean World Wide Web afficianado, which is what you can be when you use Lynx (or Mosiac, if you have a high-speed connection). Space is running short, so here's some quick cool stuff on the World Wide Web (you can explore more links from these).

The Univeristy of North Carolina's web site, which has links to other campuses and government agencies, can be reached at "" and the state's home page is at "".

The News & Observer's web "pages," as they're called, including stories and links to other sites, can be reached at "". (If you have Mosaic capability -- you know who you are -- this has easily viewable bits of video and pictures.)

Interpath's web page, including the Global Network Navigator (links to other sites,) can be reached at "".

And finally, you can get a neat tarot card reading at " useful/tarot.html"

Know a good net site -- either useful, bizarre or stupid? E-mail If we use it in a subsequent net.rider roundup, we'll make you famous.