Third time a charm?
This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on August 18, 2000
He's the columnist who wouldn't die, who every time you thought you were done with the man finally came sneaking back again.
"He" would be me, back for my third stint writing a column for ComputorEdge about the online world. Started off back in '92 writing about the local bulletin board systems (or BBSs) in the venerable but retired Online San Diego space in these pages. After a few years, I handed it off to Brad Fikes, who brought us into the Internet age, then I ran with it a second time until January of '98.
In the two and a half years since I was last here, the Web has grown exponentially and it was huge then. I mean, there are billions of Web pages right now, with millions more being added every single day. As a sign above my desk says, quoting the introduction to the Osborne Internet Complete Reference, "Not only is there no one who understands all of the Internet, there is no one who even understands most of the Internet." Harley Hahn and Rick Stout wrote that in 1994 when the Web was still a baby.
Which means that this column can be no more than a basic beginning point to help you find good places to start looking for information online, and to point out the weird and fun sites you might otherwise miss, the kind of places that don't show up in search engines but are often more rewarding than those that do.
Have sites you want to pitch or think I should visit? E-mail address is at the bottom of the column. (And to answer the first question: Yes, it is fun getting paid to browse. Get in line ... and it might be a longer wait before I leave this time ...)
The online thesaurus is a Roget's, and is run by the same folks who operate the Dictionary.com site. It's not as in-depth as the dictionary, but still very useful when you can't quite remember the right word type in something similar and odds are you'll jog your memory. Beats calling your brother at 3 a.m. because you can't remember "embellish."
Where else can you learn about America's great roadside attractions stuff like Ashton, Ga.'s World's Largest Peanut? Or Cave City, Ky.'s Wigwam Village Motel, right out of the 1950s? Or Clinton, Ala.'s, Giant Peach Watertower? This is the kind of folklore perfect for sharing whenever guys get together without the sanity-preserving presence of women.
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