Dave's Cars, Computers, Great Links

A Small Contribution to the World Wide Wasteoftime



Online Dictionary of Internet and Computer Terms

Pow Wow

PowWow is an incredible personal communicator. It's elegant simplicity belies it's power. It's very easy to install. It allows you to keyboard-chat with folks from all over the world. While this is generally used to make new friends, it also allows you to connect your computer with that of someone you already know, transfer files from your computer to your friend's computer via the internet, share a white-board (for drawings), or even surf the web together.

It seems like another person fires up their PowWow, which registers almost instantly on the PowWow server, every second! Which makes the list of those who've just logged in ever-changing, and thus very interesting. It's also a pretty good way to learn of the web sites of those people, which leads to exploring and learning. It's also a pretty good way to make your web site known to others.

There were 1,641,926 registered users of this freeware product as of Nov 3 1997. The latest version is Version 4.1 as of June, 2000 (which I have not yet tried). Versions below 4.0 are no longer supported. With version 3.0b3, I finally could do voice chatting, and it's pretty good, though only hands-free if you have a full-duplex sound card.

The voice chat feature is about as reliable as a good clean fast solid storm-free internet connection (on both ends) (test yours now!). The nifty new text-to-speech feature is very reliable and sometimes amusing.

Download PowWow
See who's just fired up their PowWow

Pretty Good Privacy

In the paraphrased words of Philip Zimmermann, author of PGP, the first government that attains the ability to know everything that everyone communicates to everyone else will likely be the last government ever elected.

You probably send very little snail mail, and almost none of any real consequence, on postcards! You place your written correspondence in sealed envelopes. But email is far easier for others to read (and store?) than are communications on post cards. In that vein, think of PGP as an envelope for your email. It can also be used to encrypt what you store on your hard disk, so that only you can gain meaningful access it.

PGP offers military-grade cryptography for the masses. The U.S. government, which seems to mistakenly believe that it has been endowed with some sacred 'right' to eavesdrop (listen secretly to the private conversations of others) finally, in January of 1996, dropped it's legal(?) case against Philip Zimmermann for having released PGP to the masses (us). The U.S. government does retain a claim of the right to control export of PGP. Despite this, however, PGP has somehow managed to find its way into the hands of those in other countries. In some cases, the privacy offered by PGP has saved the identities and lives of those who otherwise would have been persecuted by totalitarian governments.

The real beauty of PGP is the public/private key pairs that it generates. This allows you to widely distribute your public key via unsecured channels. With PGP and my public key (below), you can encrypt a message so that only I can read it.

PGP v2.6.2 takes a bit of time to install. In Bill's World, it requires adding 3 lines to the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. And, for ease of use under Billsoft Windows, a graphical interface (shell) is highly recommended. And while there are several ways to tie PGP directly to your email program, I prefer to be able to interface with PGP via the clipboard or a file using the graphical interface.

There are now newer, 32-bit, bloatware versions of PGP that you can use without modifying your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. But if you use a newer version and choose Diffie-Hellman keys, you will not be able to communicate with long-time PGP users, who use RSA keys.

Just in time for the millennium, PGPfone v2.1 has been released. This free download turns your multimedia computer into a secure 'net phone!

Pretty Good Privacy, Inc. Home Page
PGPfone 2.1 FREE Secure 'Net Phone!
International PGP, news, tools...
Nat Queen's PGP Page
Good fresh (2004) PGP downloads/resources site
Download (89K!) my favorite efficient W9x PGP shell
Download Pretty Good Privacy 2.6.2 from M.I.T. (U.S. only) (original link)
Download PGP 2.x (recommended) (DOS executable + W32gui)

Here's my public PGP key (copy/paste this to a file named dspubkey.asc,
from which you can add it to your PGP keyring):

Version: 2.6.2



Well, I finally tried FreeTel. And it's easy and it works. It's advertiser-supported.

If you like the idea of having a computer-to-computer(s) connection, you still will prefer PowWow. But if having voice-actuated free voice communication from one person to another is what you're after, you definitely should check out FreeTel. (PowWow takes advantage of the fact that the internet is the best communications tool ever devised. FreeTel tries to turn it into a communications appliance, and partially succeeds.) FreeTel also offers a pair (in/out) of tiny keyboard chat windows and the ability for friends to send files across the 'net.

The voice chat feature is about as reliable as a good clean fast solid storm-free internet connection (on both ends) (test yours now!).

Caveat: during high-usage periods, access is restricted. Priority access is available, but that's not free.

Get your own FreeTel -- click here


It seems to me that while Bill's busy trying to take over the world, the good folks at Netscape have been busy bringing it together, allowing folks both in and out of the Billsoft world to share the goodness of Netscape and The Web across a variety of computing environments. I like that; inclusion rather than exclusion.

I'd hate to think that only folks who were in Bill's world could properly access/view the WWW. What a sad day that would be...

In addition to having the best and fastest browser, Netscape's EMail Client is just about the best there is, with it's 3-window (folders, msg headers, msg) arrangement. And the way they work together (urls that appear in your mail/news msgs appear as valid blue underlined links, and clicking on one brings up the browser window and directs it there!) is sweet synergy. And you're just a few clicks away from possessing it...

Download Netscape v3.04 Gold Complete
Newer (and slower) Netscape Browsers
Strengthen Netscape SSL Encryption

Here is a site at the University of Illinois that keeps track of, and summarizes, accesses by various browsers to some 14K hosts in 75 countries, last time I checked, which showed about 60% Netscape and 35% IE. But don't feel too bad for Bill. It also showed about 80% Windows and 12% Mac.

Updated daily; you can also look up stats for the most recent week or month or longer; the site also has links to other sites' statistics.

The Correct Time

Here is one of the best pages around for checking your computer's clock:


As you may or may not know, the InterNIC is a cooperative activity between the National Science Foundation, Network Solutions, Inc. and AT&T. InterNIC is responsible for the registration of domain names on the internet. From InterNIC's web page you can access all sorts of internet resources. You can even use it to help you locate an ISP.

InterNIC has a web interface to WhoIs. This allows you to quickly and easily locate some basic information about any domain on the 'net.

Web Interface to WhoIs

Internet Service Providers

Ah, the internet. It is its own best resource. The model of economics I learned required informed consumers for capitalism to work properly. So here's some information for you.

A list of internet service providers, a way to determine if you're ready to let go of aohell and move out into the big world, and even free permanent email address resources, so you need never again burden yourself with the inconvenience of having to tell everyone about a new email address every time you actually become so bold as to switch to a better service provider.

Just as democracy cannot work well if we do not vote wisely with our ballots, capitalism cannot work well if we do not vote wisely with our wallets...

The List of Internet Service Providers
Observing AOL
AOL Sucks!
Graduating From AOL
Deleting AOL from your system
Free Complete Email Service
Free Web Page

Hear for yourself!


The "no one knows you're a dog" sense of anonymity on the 'net is largely a myth. Most web sites know where you're from and what operating system and sometimes even what kind of computer you're using.

The Anonymizer will let you get to the site of your choosing (or it gets the site to you) via their system, which acts similar to a proxy, without revealing information about you.

The Anonymizer
Anonymous Email
Cookie Pal

Recently Hacked Sites - Government

While practically everyone heard about the Department Of Justice's web site having been altered on August 17, 1996, very few actually got to see the alterations.

And so, as not only a historical public service, but also to augment the incomplete presentation by the more traditional media, 2600 Magazine has preserved a copy of the hacked DOJ site.

Then, in September, the CIA's page was abruptly altered. In November, a furrier's site's content was, shall I say, revised. December, the Air Force. (I think hackers must get Octobers off!) In March, NASA took quite a hit. Stay tuned, and remember to change your password...

As 2600 warns, both the hacked and unaltered sites are presented uncensored, so be sure and shield your children:

Visit the 8/96 hacked DOJ site
Visit the 9/96 hacked CIA site
Visit the 11/96 hacked furrier's site
Visit the 12/96 hacked AF site
Visit the 2/97 hacked Indonesian govt site
Visit the 3/97 hacked NASA site
Link to 2600's list of hacked sites
Defacement Mirror and more
History of Cap'n Crunch!

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