01/25/2001 - Updated 10:42 AM ET

Frequently Asked Questions about Tech ...


Does USA TODAY control the content or performance of Internet sites that are hyperlinked in Hot Sites, Potholes, Web Resources and other sections?


Those non-USA TODAY sites are entirely the responsibility of the people who develop and maintain them. We link only as a convenience - pointing our readers to sites that have some news interest. We don't endorse products or services. While sites are carefully reviewed, there's no attempt to conduct a full-scale investigation of their claims or conduct.


We're also not responsible for the operation of any software that these sites may offer. Readers should be aware of the possibilities of contracting a computer virus by downloading files on the Internet. Readers also should be aware of the possibility of encountering offensive language or graphics at some sites.


How are sites chosen for Hot Site awards?


Technology Editor Sam Vincent Meddis considers a number of factors in making a selection. Sites are judged strictly on the basis of content and appearance. Absolutely no money is accepted in exchange for an award.


We look for sites that may stretch the design envelope and show where the Web is headed. Ones that offer something unusual or unexpected. Or something just plain useful.


Remember, too, that a review is a snapshot in time. Sites change - they may get better or, regrettably, lose their superiority at some point.


How can a site be nominated for a Hot Site award?

We welcome nominations from readers, webmasters and public relations firms. But our intent is not to list all of the hundreds of new sites that enter the Web each week. Only the relative few that seem superior and make for an interesting mix of sites on a particular day.


Selections change around 6 a.m. each weekday morning and remain for 24 hours. They're later archived in a daily and weekly listing - and can also be found through our Search engine.



How do I return to Tech after visiting a non-USA TODAY site?


The Back button is often the cure for that "lost in space" feeling you get when there seems to be no way to return to the Web site that you came from a few mouse clicks before.


You can also bookmark Tech:


  • For Netscape, Internet Explorer and some other browsers with Bookmarks on the menu bar - click on that item and then click Add Bookmark.
  • For the AOL Web Browser - Click on Favorite Places. Then click Add Favorite Place. For Place Description, type Tech. For Internet Address, type www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/cyber1.htm (the character following "cyber" is the number 1, not the letter l). And then click the Close button.
  • For CompuServe and other Mosaic-style browsers - Click on the Hotlist item in the menu bar and then click Add to Hotlist.
  • For Prodigy - Click on the HotList button and then click Add to Hot List.

What are some basic things I need to know to navigate the Web?


If you've come this far, you likely already know that you can connect to a Web site by pointing your mouse arrow to a hyperlinked word or graphic and then clicking once on it. You can tell if something is hyperlinked because it is underlined, highlighted or, in the case of images, has a border around it.


Becoming familiar with all of the capabilities of your Web browser is fundamental. While some browsers have different designs, most have several common features. Often, you'll find clickable buttons at the top of the screen that perform various functions. For button haters, there are Menu items that do the same things. The following are among the most useful features:


  • The Stop button - comes in very handy when a site or an image is taking too long to load and you want to move on to another location.
  • The Reload button - forces the browser to download the most current version of a page if you have been using a "cache" to store recently accessed sites in your computer memory or hard drive.

Why do I have to wait a long time, sometimes without success, to connect to a site?


The problem may be that the site is very popular - and, thus, crowded. Clicking the reload button may solve the problem. If that fails, trying to connect again at another time, especially at a different hour of the day (or night!), should work.


Why does my Web browser return an error message when I try to connect to a particular site?


First, check to see that your phone or network connection is still operating. Then, make sure you have typed in the URL correctly. If the URL is correct, or if you are trying to connect by clicking on a hot link, it may be that the site has closed down and gone into cyber-oblivion. Many sites come and go very rapidly in cyberspace - a reality that helps keep the Web forever fresh but that can also be quite frustrating. If you encounter such a problem with a site that we have reviewed or listed, please let us know so that we can update our links.


Our home page also has a section entitled Inside USA TODAY: Hints, help and the FAQ that provides answers to other questions.


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