LLRXBuzz - September 18, 2000

Tara Calishain is the co-author of Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research, 2nd Edition, and author or co-author of four other books. She is the owner of CopperSky Writing & Research.



In This Issue:

Brown University Does Study on E-Government; Finds It Lacking

Pac-Info Goes California, Canada

FreeERISA Adds New Resources

State and County QuickFacts

The Public Opinion -- In Aggregate -- At PollingReport.com

Eudora Releases Version 5.0

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Brown University Does Study on E-Government; Finds It Lacking        
Researchers at Brown University did a study of over 1,800 state and federal government Web sites, searched them for 27 different features, and then ranked their findings on a 100- point scale. The highest-ranked state site was Texas, with 51 points. The lowest-ranked site was Rhode Island, with 29 points. This is a fascinating study on what state and federal sites are and aren't offering. You can read the entire thing at: http://www.insidepolitics.org/egovtreport00.html

Pac-Info Goes California, Canada

Pac-Info (http://www.pac-info.com) has added so many sites to their Canada section that they've given provinces their own pages. They've also really added on the California links. Other new links include:

Georgia - Cobb County Superior Court Calendars
Alabama - Land Patent Records
Alachua County, Florida, Clerk of the Circuit Court
Alaska Public Notices
Montana - Government Phone Directory
Canada - Home Builders Directory
Minnesota - Statutes and Laws
Mississippi - Code and Constitution
Mississippi - Land Patent Records
WI - Dodge County Cemetery Records
Wisconsin - Statutes and Annotations

FreeERISA Adds New Resources                                                        
FreeERISA, last mentioned way back in April 
(http://www.llrx.com/buzz/buzz2.htm) has added some new information to its site on free pension and benefit information at http://www.freeERISA.com. The new information includes:

- Top Hat plans (plans maintained by employers for providing deferred compensation to a select group for employees). The Top Hat filings are available at http://www.freeERISA.com/findplan.asp.
- Form 990 summaries of tax-exempt organizations.
- The latest release of publicly-available Form 5500
filings from the US Department of Labor.

The FreeERISA site also mentions an upcoming "Resources Directory" which looks to be a place to purchase pension and benefit infrastructures for one's company. From the site: "The Resource Solutions Directory will provide nine initial categories: Banks, Employee Benefits Consultants, Financial Planners, Insurance, Third Party Administrators, Legal, Managed Care, Mutual Funds and Stock Brokers." That resource is coming in October.

Man, there's a ton of stuff here. Okay, there's also a section for job seekers that includes job listings (searching in America's Job Bank and IllinoisSkillsMatch.com), small business resources, and information on apprenticeship programs.

There's a section on career information that allows you to search a section of the state or the entire state. This is set up like the occupational wage information (though with not the same list of jobs.) Choosing a job title gets you description (when available), wage information (when available), and employment trend and annual average openings.

'Local Area Profile' allows you to select an area of the state and get a variety of information, including the unemployment in the area, median income, population (with population trend graph). You can also check out the industry mix and the largest private employers. If you click on the "Facts & Figures" link over in the left column, you can get additional demographic information. Finally there's the labor economic database. The data series links offers information in several areas, including Population & Labor Force, Industry, and Economic Data.

The tables link offers labor market information and statistical tables of various types. Whew. There's a lot of stuff here, but organized well, and presented in large, easy-to-read tables. Worth a look if you need the info.

State and County QuickFacts                                                               
A big thanks to GP who passed on this new resource from the US Census. The US Census has created a "State and County QuickFacts" site for getting statistics on the entire nation, states, and counties. The site is located at http://www.census.gov/qfd/ and provides you a few quick facts (the current estimated population, growth since 1990, and size).  From there you can select a state from a pull-down menu or use the clickable map.

Once you choose a state, you're presented with an enormous table of information, including facts about the people (population, number of men and women, change since 1990, etc.) business facts, and geography facts. Each fact has a link to definition and source information. On this page you may also choose a county and get the same type of information as on the state screen, only at the county level. Very nicely done and definitely worth a look.

The Public Opinion -- In Aggregate -- At PollingReport.com              
PollingReport.com (http://PollingReport.com/) provides a site that summarizes polls in several different categories from several different organization. The site describes itself as independent and nonpartisan. The front page provides news stories (for example, right now their headliner is the Firestone tires, with a story that summarizes several different polls about the tires), with a snapshot of a relevant poll, and a list of recently added polls. This site only includes national poll highlights; other polls are available in a twice monthly newsletter from the same source. Subscribers get the newsletter in paper format and access to password-protect pages on the PollingReport.com. The newsletter currently costs $95 a year.

Eudora Releases Version 5.0                                                                                                                                        
Eudora (http://www.eudora.com) has announced version 5.0 of their e-mail software. A couple of interesting features from this version include a "MoodWatch," which can be set to warn you if you're writing a "flame" (the level of heat in the message will be measured by chili peppers) and graphs of your e-mail usage statistics (gad, I'm not sure I want to know.) You can read the press release at http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/000911/ca_qualcom_2.html.

Last week I mentioned a PC World story that discussed how Eudora 4.3 "touched" Eudora servers periodically even in paid mode. I was concerned that this version might do the same thing, so I wrote to QUALCOMM. Jeremy James, Director of Marketing, replied thusly:

Paid mode touches the server periodically to see if there is a newer version available. If so, it notifies the user and offers the user the option of going and getting it on the Web. This function can be turned off if the user doesn't want Eudora to check for new versions. No personal information is transmitted in this check. Just the information that will enable the server to return the correct response (version of Eudora, operating system, etc.). And even this information is not saved. It is simply used to return the correct response. See our privacy statement at this URL <http://www.eudora.com/privacy/>".

To turn that feature off, Windows users should check http://www.eudora.com/techsupport/kb/2111hq.html. Mac users should check http://www.eudora.com/techsupport/kb/2122hq.html.