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As Christmas draws near, Santa's little helpers are merrily loading his sleigh with hundreds of shiny new computers for the girls and boys who have been good this year. Chances are that if you are one of those recipients, you will also be racing on to the Information Super-Highway. What's the first thing you want to look for on the Internet? Country music, of course! This month I tell you how, and take things back to basics for those who are joining us in Cyberspace for the first time. Hopefully there will be some helpful hints for even experienced users.
The actual technical explanation of how to connect your humble computer to the millions of other computers that make up the Internet is beyond the space limitations of this column. I will however try to illuminate the principle and leave it to the specialist computer magazines, of which there are many, to provide you with further details. First you need a modem for your computer. It can be a little external box with flashing lights, or perhaps there is already an internal model inside your computer. Either way, the modem connects your computer to a regular phone line. The next step is for you to have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) at the other end of that phone line. The larger companies such as Ozemail, Big Pond, and AOL all provide kits on CD-Rom discs that make it easy for you to create an account with them and configure your computer with the necessary software. Prices vary considerably between the larger and the smaller ISP's, and you must make a considered choice. The two main factors are to try to find an ISP that you can connect to for the cost of a local call, and choose a plan that reflects the number of hours you expect to be on-line. Hint: it will be longer than you think!
There has been a lot of bad press about some of the less savoury aspects of the Internet. Indeed, there is a reasonable amount of objectionable material by any standards, but probably no worse than the top shelf at the newsagent, and the good material is immeasurable by comparison. Parental supervision is advisable, and I add a few cautionary words. Firstly, not everything you see on the Internet is correct or true. Just as in "real life", you must be the judge. Secondly, you will receive junk E-mail of dubious content and promises. Trust me; Bill Gates is not going to give you $1000, Walt Disney Jr. is not going to give you a free trip to Disneyland, and sending $5 to everyone on a list is going to make poorer not richer! You will also receive many warnings about computer viruses, and most of them will be hoaxes. Fortunately, I can direct you to a Web site that helps explain fact from fiction. Read all about computer virus myths & hoaxes.
Next month we go in-depth on one particular Web-site and see how it works.
Now back to the music:- (to preserve continuity with the printed version of this column, some items have been repeated from last month).
Making his second visit to Australia this year, Dale Watson once again inspired local audiences with his "Real Country" sound. I caught up with Dale at The Basement in Sydney. As a treat for visitors to the Cowboys In Cybersp@ce Web site this month, you can hear Dale talk about his Australian-made Tomkins guitar and his new album, and see more pictures from the show.
Dale was supported by Keith Glass, fresh from an award-winning spree at the Mildura Festival. Keith picked up the Australian Independent Country Music Awards for Country Music Track of the Year (Single) ("Smoke and Mirrors") and Heritage Track ("Larrikin Town"). Congratulations Keith! The recording of "Larrikin Town" features The Amazing Rhythm Aces and the Crosby Sisters, and is one of the tracks on Keith's new 4-track CD entitled "On The Mend" which also includes duets with Lyndsay Hammond ("Standing In The Way Of Love") and truckin' star Nev Nicholls ("Free Spirit"). You can order your copy on-line now!
Also available now is the new Jim Haynes laugh-fest "Ratbag" and from the Australian Poets' Series, Jim Haynes presents "Blue The Shearer" (Col Wilson). Col recites his poems with a little help from ARIA-winner Shanley Del and young Paddy Ryan. A search of the Internet reveals a few sites that contain Bush Poetry, but it would be great to see someone create a central source on the Web that could serve as an archive for this cultural tradition.
Making a whirlwind visit to Australia in October was U.S. sensation Jo Dee Messina. You can read more about her at the Curb Records Web site, or check out the Cowboys In Cybersp@ce Web special this month for an exclusive report on her Sydney visit.
The site of community radio station 2REM-FM 107.3 in Albury provides details of their Country Music shows hosted by the likes of Keith Melbourne, Phil Shields and many others. It also provides a link to some very comprehensive Albury/Wodonga Weather Information.
Outback Adventures is the action, reality, adventure series hosted by Troy Dann. EMI have just released a special edition double CD of music taken from Outback Adventures featuring Lee Kernaghan, Gina Jeffreys, Tania Kernaghan and more. The bonus tracks are taken from the second series and the extra CD contains the soundtrack music mostly written by Garth Porter and Rod McCormack. At the Outback Adventures site you can find out lots of background information on the show, cast and crew, and also watch the video of 'This Is The Outback' performed by Lee Kernaghan. There are also many short videos of the stories the show has covered from Archipelago to Yabbies! If you think you know the show, take the Outback Adventures Quiz. If that's not enough, why not visit Troy Dann's Official Web Site for even more Outback Legends, stories, pictures, interviews and details of how to join Troy Dann's Outback World Club.
Nashville New Zealand have updated their site to include a picture gallery of popular performer, Clark Reid.
As well as lots of Country Music, they have pages on outdoor activities such as fly-fishing, hunting and Rodeo while you are there.
STRIKE TWO are in hot demand on the Australian festival circuit. Rising young star Sharon Benjamin and her duo partner Mark Hillier are creating quite an impression. At their Web page you can hear samples of Sharon's hit single "Ghost Train" and her latest single "Strike Two" and find out more about their new CD album.
"Welcome To The World Of Jim Reeves" is the name of an excellent Web site created by Eric W. Penman. As well as all that you ever wanted to know about "Gentleman Jim", there are links to Eric's other sites that include Eddy Arnold, Floyd Cramer, Ferlin Husky, and Marty Robbins.
If you want to share the location of an interesting site you’ve seen or request a topic for discussion in future columns, why not E-mail me. Don't forget to listen out for Cowboys in Cybersp@ce each month on the radio waves with Belinda Miller of Murri Country , 4AAA –FM (98.9 in Brisbane). Until next month, happy surfing.
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