On the Net ... with UPI

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International  |  April 17, 2003 at 10:00 AM
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In the first White House Web chat, Andrew Card, the chief of staff, told Casey from Quincy, Mass., he thinks Saddam Hussein is dead. He also said the White House staff "is not like the TV show (NBC's "West Wing") -- running and bumping into each other all day." The online discussions, titled "Ask the White House," will allow citizens to quiz top Bush aides without the media, The Washington Post reported. Questions will be discarded if they include "inappropriate messages," according to Jimmy Orr, the White House Internet media director, adding that the Bush aides will choose which of the questions they answer. On Earth Day, April 22, Environmental Protection Administrator Christine Todd Whitman will host a discussion on the White House official Web Site: whitehouse.gov.


According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 24 percent of Americans experience life without the Internet. More than half of the unplugged said they do not want the Internet, nor do they need it, while 43 percent worry about online pornography, credit card theft and fraud. "Many lack the resources to go online, some live in a social world where Internet doesn't matter and still others have no notion the Internet can improve their lives," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew project. About 30 percent of the non-users were users previously. "A lot of people are moving in and out of the online world pretty regularly," said study author Amanda Lenhart.


Churches, like businesses, are getting onto the information superhighway in breakneck fashion, reports ChurchCentral.com. A search on Google for the word "church" delivers links to 26.7 million Internet Web pages. Scott Thumma, of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford Seminary, in Hartford, Conn., evaluates Web sites for quality and posts a "review of excellent sites." The thinking is, if more churches are exposed to Web sites that are skillfully made, more will take the extra steps to produce quality sites. "We've still found, even though the quality of Web sites is improving, it's still thought of as kind of an in-house sort of thing," Thumma said.


"E-mail is the most important tool in the travel industry's recovery," Henry Harteveldt, principal travel analyst at Forrester Research, asserts. Harteveldt reported airlines, hotels and other travel suppliers have discovered frequent travelers are also high users of the Internet. These e-mail-engaged travelers want to get e-mail on travel deals, The New York Times reports. E-mail is "the most immediate vehicle you have to reach out to customers, to segment and communicate with customers in a relevant, compelling and timely manner," Harteveldt said at the Travel Commerce conference in New York.


The funeral of Fred Rogers, of "PBS's "Mister Rogers Neighborhood" will be televised in Pittsburgh but it also can be seen on the Internet. Live audio-streaming of the service will also be available on the Internet at the Web site wqed.org/fm through the "Listen now" link. The 90-minute service will be held May 3 at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh at 2:30 p.m. The service will be led by the Rev. Dr. William Barker, retired Presbyterian minister who appeared on many of the Mister Rogers programs. Rogers died on Feb. 27 after a brief battle with stomach cancer.


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