The World Wide Web, bursting with would-be pundits, poets, and painters, is fortunate to have among them in this exploding galaxy of data, a few good reference librarians. Jeff Boulter and Dave Maher obviously have some time on their hands.
The two computer science majors at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., are the designers of CRAYON (CReAte Your Own Newspaper), a Web page devoted solely to making it easy to read the best of the various media sources available on the Web. For each user, CRAYON's behind-the-screens Unix scripts custom-build a file of links to national, world, business, technical, entertainment and other news sources, drawn from a menu of 95 choices in 10 categories. Once you've finished picking the links you want, CRAYON generates your page, which you then save on your own hard drive and use at will.
News gathering through CRAYON is like concocting a stew; start with the national bulletins from Time magazine and the Raleigh News & Observer, add a little world news with London's Electric Telegraph and Russia's St. Petersburg Press. Toss in a dash of bu
siness data from Money magazine, plus today's stock quotes. Stir in "Adam Curry's CyberSleaze Report" and the San Francisco Chronicle's sports section. Then garnish with the most recent "Dilbert" comic strip. You get to name the resulting "paper"; for some reason, at least three CRAYON users have labeled their creations The Washington Post.
"As a college student, it is easy to get isolated from the real world," emailed Boulter. "I was looking for a free news source. I spent a few days writing up the script that generates the papers, thought up the witty acronym, built up a database of items and announced it on a few newsgroups."
More than 10,000 subscribers later, Boulter and Maher, both juniors, are looking at ways to make a buck or two off their creation.
"CRAYON has directly [resulted] in numerous job offers to me," Boulter wrote. He and Maher may take the service commercial and charge for ad space, but "we are firm on the idea that CRAYON will always be a free service."
-Rob Pegoraro firstname.lastname@example.org
* GETTING THERE: Point a forms-cabable browser to http://spectrum.eg.bucknell.edu/~boulter/crayon/.
OK, newspaper junkies - we know you're out there - do yourself a favor and play around with a crayon. Or make that CRAYON, as in CReAte Your Own Newspaper, a World Wide Web page devoted to quick access to various media sources scattered throughout the Web. For each user, CRAYON's behind-the-scenes Unix scripts custom-build a file of links to national, world, business, technical, entertainment and other new sousrces, drawn from a menu of 95 choices in 10 categories. CRAYON then generates your page, which you save on your hard drive. Creators of CRAYON - not too far removed from their Crayola days - are Jeff Boulter and Dave Maher, juniors at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. The Web address is http://spectrum.eg.bucknell.edu:80/boulter/crayon/.