NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
The Disaster: Key Web Sites
Stay abreast of news, learn of ways to talk with your children,
find out how to help.

by Steve Bass, Contributing Editor, PC World
Friday, September 14, 2001
Copyright 2001, PC World, reprinted with permission
steve_bass@pcworld.com (click to email author)

I walked in from vacation Tuesday afternoon and spent the rest of the day glued to the TV while scanning dozens of Web sites. I did the same on Wednesday, but with more intense feelings ricocheting from grief and despair to anger and rage.

Yesterday I received a message from a list I run--broad_band @Yahoogroups.com. "Blank...The silence, the silence...is deafening."

So I replied. "Yeah," I said, "you're right. It's time to get back to work. Not necessarily back to normal, but, well, I dunno, stop agonizing, get away from the TV, and do something..."

So I convinced my editor to let me put together this extra newsletter in order to provide you with some links, a little humor, and respond to your e-mails about how to help.

How You Can Help
Give blood if you want, although consider waiting a couple of weeks--blood banks are overflowing at the moment. Or think about sending some bucks to a good cause (see links below).

But I have something else you can do to help, something long term. Fair warning, I'm going to get gushy.

While watching TV, I noticed people showing a new closeness towards one another--a tolerance--that I've never seen before. I see it in myself, in those I talk with regularly, and in e-mail I receive. Examples? A FedEx package I was waiting for didn't arrive on time. So what? A guy wants to change lanes right in front of me. So I slow down and let him in. It's all become so trivial, you know?

I spent 15 years doing therapy (I'm a licensed psychotherapist) before switching careers, and I think the terrorist act has given us all a short, intensive burst of therapy. Many of us have a different perspective on life, and those in our lives.

My buddy, a Los Angeles County disaster expert, says it's a normal reaction, it'll pass, and people will go back to their old ways. I have a different take. Yes, it's corny, but I think that instead of giving blood, we can help everyone by holding on to this unity. With it I have confidence we'll find our way through this ugly time, and end up stronger as individuals--and as a nation. Okay, set soapbox off.

Coping With Disaster
The American Psychological Association provides solid advice for "Coping with Terrorism." (http://helping.apa.org/daily/terrorism.html)

Then read the series of questions and answers entitled, "Coping With the Aftermath of a Disaster."
( http://helping.apa.org/daily/tassey.html)

New York City has an excellent site to help you talk to your kids about the disaster. It's called "Coping With Children's Reaction to Disaster."

Dig this: Undoubtedly you've received the e-mail message explaining that in 1654, Nostradamus predicted the terrorist attack. "World War III would begin," he said, "with the fall of 'two brothers,'" supposedly a reference to the destroyed World Trade Center towers. (Coincidentally, Nostradamus also said everyone would stick with DOS. Or was that OS/2?) It's a hoax. (http://www.snopes2.com/rumors/predict.htm)

Getting the News
I can't stand not knowing what's happening. In the last few days, I've found some spots that seem to provide coverage that's current, accurate, and comprehensive.

Start with Google's brilliant service (http://www.google.com/news/). With so many people trying to log on to the same sites, access may be sluggish or unavailable. Google has put together its "News links and support information regarding attacks" and Google constantly caches the links onto its servers. You get current access to sites without the wait.

The World Watch Monitor (http://monitor.airsecurity.com/) is an excellent site for short, one line, chronological updates. Information is designated as confirmed or unconfirmed.

I also toggle between MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.com/news/default.asp?cp1=1) and CNN (http://www.cnn.com/); both sites are packed with rich and current news.

I'm comforted knowing that if something occurs and I don't have the TV on, I'll be notified by e-mail. Sign up (http://www.cnn.com/EMAIL/) for CNN's e-mail service for short, at-the-moment messages. )

You might want to try the flight software you've seen on MSNBC. It's Flight Explorer AV Web (http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/fe/register.html). The built-in demo mode lets you use pre-recorded flight tracking data to see how the program works; real-time flight tracking data will cost you $9.95 per month. I spent the money and have been playing with Flight Explorer--and it's a heck of a lot of fun. (And after a while, another one of those great time wasters.) The software is available for download.
http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/fe/client /FEAVWeb310.exe)

Giving Money
First, be careful who you give money to. We report on sleazy spammers tricking people into thinking they were giving to disaster victims. Get the details at "Beware of Online Scams for Disaster- Relief Funds."

PC World's Kalai Murugesan supplied helping.org (http://helping.org/), a site that provides links to legitimate organizations collecting relief funds.

My New York cousin Judy (she's fine, thanks) told me about The New York Times 9/11 Neediest Fund. It's appealing to me because The Times covers all administrative costs of managing the funds. Donations can be made online (http://www.charitywave.com/).

You might also look at the National Organization for Victim Assistance Fund for Terrorist Attack Victims (http://www.try-nova.org/).

Also see the Catholic Charities USA Agencies Mobilize to Help Victims of Terrorist Attacks

Finding Attack Survivors
Of the many images I saw, the most upsetting were people clutching pictures of missing loved ones. It's a small help but we have an article that directs people to Web sites to locate people. See "Web Helps Track Missing in Attack Aftermath."

There are other sites to help you track friends and relatives who are missing because of the attack.

CNN has a way to post photos of people missing following the attacks, along with emergency contact numbers. Send the photo to CNN (http://www.cnn.com/ and include the person's name, age, employer, and hometown, as well as your name and phone number. For details visit CNN.

The Millennium Cluster at the University of California, Berkeley (http://safe.millennium.berkeley.edu/) database has over 19,000 reports (that someone is safe).

Spyonit (http://www.spyonit.com/Add?_spyid=spy724_imokay) (dumb name, brilliant service) monitors things on the Internet and reports to you by e-mail, instant message, pager, Palm VIITM, and other ways. They've set up a special page that monitors three World Trade Center survivor lists. It's free and easy to use.

Tech Support
We have a good article to help companies get assistance keeping their business up and running. Check the details in: "Tech Companies Share Resources After Attack."

For people still stranded away from home but needing access to their home PCs, ExpertCity is offering free, unlimited, 30-day use of GoToMyPC (https://www.gotomypc.com/), a Web-based remote control utility. You'll need to have someone available to install it on your home PC.

Privacy Versus Freedom
Politics aside, we're all going to look at the wavering line between eavesdropping and surveillance, and the infringement on our individual freedom. I think you know which side I'm on.

You can read about the issues in many spots. Start with PCW's "Will Attack Hurt Net Privacy?"
(http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,61744,00.asp) It's a levelheaded examination of the problem with worthwhile links.

Wired News explains how bin Laden may be embedding secret messages in message attachments--and how the authorities have reacted. Read it in " Bin Laden: Steganography Master?"

On the other hand, John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (http://www.eff.org/) said: "Within a few hours, we will see beginning the most vigorous efforts to end what remains of freedom in America. Those of who are willing to sacrifice a little-- largely illusory--safety in order to maintain our faith in the original ideals of America will have to fight for those ideals just as vigorously.

"I beg you to begin now to do whatever you can--whether writing your public officials, joining the ACLU or EFF, taking to the streets, or living visibly free and fearless lives--to prevent the spasm of control mania from destroying the dreams that far more have died for over the last 225 years than died this morning." You can read more on the World Trade Center Attack at Yahoo Groups. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wtcattack/message/93)

Most Dramatic Images
Some of the most dramatic pictures of the event are just a click away. Here are some of the ones that struck me the most:

The Washington Post's " America Under Attack."
(http://a188.g.akamaitech.net/f/188/920/15m/www.washingtonpost.com/wp- srv/photo/attack/aftermath/1.htm)

Time Magazine's " Shattered."

Images from space of the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon.

Some people are suggesting that on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. you step outside and light a candle. It's a way to show that Americans are strong and united together against terrorism.

If your local store doesn't have any flags left in their inventory, here's a solution. (http://www.illusivewebdesign.com/myrally/flag/)

You may have received an e-mail with a transcript of Canadian radio commentator Gordon Sinclair's 1973, pro-American editorial. But please keep it in perspective--his message was primarily a pro-Vietnam War statement. You can read--or listen--to the real version. (http://www.rcc.ryerson.ca/schools/rta/ccf/news/unique/am_text.html)

Sign up to have Steve Bass's Home Office Newsletter e-mailed to you each week. (http://www.pcworld.com/resource/newsletters/index.asp?sub_source=PCW_XD)

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