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Cowboys In Cyberspace - July 2002

"Be My Guest"

Troy Cassar-Daley Sydney album launchMessage-boards, guest books and discussion boards - you'll see them on many Web sites. Sometimes they are just a repository of messages, but oftentimes a lot more. As TROY CASSAR-DALEY travels around Australia launching his great new album Long Way Home, Troy's fans visit his Web site leaving messages of encouragement and thanks. They are most always rewarded with a reply from Troy himself. As JEDD HUGHES heads out on tour with Patty Loveless you can follow his progress and watch the reaction from new fans around the USA. Over at the JOHN WILLIAMSON True Blue Discussion Board, after over two years of exchanging thoughts and comments, a virtual community has grown. The most regular users have even created their own Web pages, the aptly named ROGUES GALLERY. Even though they come from diverse countries, they can now see what each other looks like!

Some message boards can become an archive of many years of fandom. That little old band from Texas, ZZ TOP, is celebrating 30 years of recording. Their board, named SCRAWL HERE, goes all the way back to 1999. That's a lot of fan mail! Meanwhile, look for the country style tribute album, Sharp Dressed Men: A Tribute To ZZ Top. While many of the stars involved are a little too reverential in their treatment of these classic songs, there are some interesting moments including the tracks by Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams.

There are plenty of other new and updated sites for you to check out this month. Here are just some of them:

Rex Dallas Golden Guitar winner REX DALLAS launched his latest album Sunrise Of The Outback at the 2002 CountryLink Hats Off To Country Festival in Tamworth. Find out more about the man from Wallerawang and check out The Gully Grub Barn at the new Rex Dallas Web site.

If you like your country with a slant towards the raw and honest side, check out the new E-zine COW PUNK QUARTERLY. While its writers Wat Tyler and Eddie Greenaway admit that the title is a bit misleading (being neither about the Cow Punk genre or indeed, quarterly) one quick worthwhile visit to the site will give you an insight into their alternative take on Australian country.

As BROOKS & DUNN cross America with their Neon Circus & Wild West Show that also includes Dwight Yoakam and Gary Allan, USA TODAY photographer Robert Deutsch has documented a day in the life of the show. You can view 27 of his images on the Web (be patient while the page loads!). Look out for photo number 10 that shows guitarist JAKE KELLY backstage, tuning up his Australian custom made Tomkins 'archtop' guitar.

The music of the band SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD has been described as "Appalachian Black Sabbath", but that shouldn't deter country fans. Their new album, Never Make it Home, does however infuse a great deal of energy and verve into their hillbilly and bluegrass style. If you're ready for it, find out more at Chicago's Bloodshot Records Web site or their local Australian label, the adventurous and challenging Laughing Outlaw Records.

Don't forget to listen out for cyberBob each month on the radio waves with Belinda Miller of Murri Country, 4AAA (98.9 FM in Brisbane) and Barbara Morison on 2SER (107.3 FM in Sydney).

Until next time, happy surfing.

barbed wire
barbed wire
barbed wire


Avoiding the Computer Virus

Beware the Computer Devil !!!

E-mail is still the most used application on the Internet and rightly so, but while you are enjoying the benefits, don't become complacent about the very real threat of your computer becoming infected by a virus. Some of the old rules no longer apply, in particular the theory that you can't catch a virus if you don't actually open an E-mail message. There are now viruses that will activate should they even appear in the preview pane of your E-mail program. It is also now possible (although rarer) to receive a virus when visiting a Web page.

The good news is that by following a few simple tips you can minimise, if not eliminate these threats:

  • Firstly and most obviously, make sure you have a reputable Anti-Virus program installed, and that it has an option to update itself over the Internet. Remember to use this update facility often to protect yourself against the latest outbreak of nasties.

  • Many E-mail viruses are often disguised as messages from someone you know. Don't open an attachment just because you know the sender. Check it first!

  • Watch out for E-mails containing 'broken' English that ask you to try a new game or look at an attachment. Also don't automatically trust official looking E-mails that claim to contain a tool to cure a virus. That file can often be the virus itself!

  • Also, if you pass on a bogus virus alert (and there are many) to all your friends, you might be clogging up the traffic as badly as a real virus. The same goes for almost any E-mail that contains the phrase "send this to all your friends and contacts". Did you delete the program with the teddy bear icon? Bad luck, it was another hoax. A quick visit to the Virus Myths page or The University of Michigan Virus Busters site will put your mind to rest. Lastly, trust me, Bill Gates is not going to "share his fortune with you" just because you've sent everyone a copy of an E-mail that says he will. This much I know!

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.



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