News & Politics

NetNomad 9

Five offbeat, timely reviews of Web sites on the arts, politics and news -- with a dash of the absurd thrown in for good measure. This week: Oprah Goes Online ... Students Against University Censorship ... I Ching Reading ... and more.
Oprah Goes Online (www.oprahgoesonline.com/)Oprah reads a book, millions of viewers read the book, too. Oprah loses weight and millions pray she'll put it back on. Now Oprah has discovered the Internet, which apparently consists of a series of computers all hooked up together which you can use it to find information and that sort of thing. You go online, as they call it. Now that Oprah has discovered the Internet, we can presume that it really is here to stay! The site is actually part of Oxygen --the new women's cable outfit-- and it does offer a competent introduction to various aspects of the Internet, but it really is just so damned Oprah-like. Students Against University Censorship (www.gbcentral.com/sauc/index.html)Napster software allows users to search for and exchange MP3 sound files as though they were little more than simple text files. Once the software is downloaded, users have access to thousands of sound files housed on local computers all over the world. You probably would not even be reading about Napster had it not been effectively banned by 198 (at last count) educational institutions across the country. It seems thousands of these students were using valuable bandwidth to download thousands of song files. Needless to say, some of the students at such institutions have taken exception to the banning and this ad-hoc organization was created in order to circulate a petition stating that "the ban on Napster is an assault on our first amendment rights and should be lifted by all universities."RecordTV (www.recordtv.com/vcr/default.htm)Tired of missing your favorite TV shows? Or can't quite get the hang of the programming feature? Welcome to RecordTV, an Internet "VCR" that allows users to program and 'record' their favorite TV shows. It is really quite simple. Just click on the title of the show you want to view later, and then sign on after the airtime to 'watch' your program -- or programs, you can record a few at a time-- using RealPlayer. The special advanced features also allow you to record the same program every day of the week, or you can automatically record certain programs whenever they air. Dancing Building Tour (www.acbic.cz/dance_map.htm)Try to picture in your mind what a building would look like if it were named after the dancing team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Once you've got the image in your mind you can sally forth to The Dancing Building to see the real thing. Frank Gehry and Croation-born architect Vladimir Milunic have created a building on the banks of the Vltava River in Prague which consists of two extraordinary combinations, one flirty and curvilinear, the other solid and upright. It is called the Fred and one Ginger Building by some fans and it is unlike anything you've ever seen before. This site includes plenty of wonderful photographs from various angles. I Ching Reading (2thirdx-perts.com/IChing/)The I Ching, often referred to as the Book of Changes, uses 64 symbolic hexagrams that, if understood and interpreted correctly, are said to offer profound meaning to our everyday lives and can even be used to "predict" future events. The only problem with I Ching, at least for those in the west, is the amount of time and knowledge required to learn how to interpret the predictions. The Internet comes to the rescue once again! This site allows users to foretell the future without all the bother. Simply click on the button and the telling hexagrams will be produced automatically.
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