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Lost in Cyberspace

A quick tour of some Web sites worth a visit

This article was originally published on May 4, 1999 by SignOn San Diego and Copley News Service.

The in-boxes (both virtual and physical) have been piling up with announcements and press releases touting what are supposedly the latest and hottest Web sites.

Few live up to the lofty promises, of course. Much like breathlessly hyped new TV series or ambitiously named tract housing, most Web sites turn out to be rather disappointing once seen in person.

But a few do stand out:


Discovery Channel Online is one of the top education sites on the entire 'Net; bookmark it alongside the Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress and NASA. While the Discovery Channel is, unlike the above, a for-profit outfit, it's site is nonetheless one of the best destinations for your kids. For instance, within a day of the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas, Discovery Channel Online had posted a superb online multimedia exhibit all about tornadoes: the science and history of them, real-time radar maps of the Midwest, photographs showing the development of a tornado, and more.

The Hubble Heritage site is run by the Space Telescope Science Institute, the organization that operates the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. This site features a kind of "best of" collection of photographs taken by the HST, the giant telescope in orbit above Earth. Most of the photos here are absolutely stunning, whether of neighboring planets or glowing nebulae.

Kevin D. Kissell has an interesting hobby: He runs The Dead Supercomputer Society site. Kissell's basic premise is that the era of the supercomputer is basically over due to the advent of massively parallel computing; his site is an odd but charming compendium of facts, photos and links all related to supercomputers. (How odd? Try his link to the BESM-6 Nostalgia Page, which is dedicated to obsolete Soviet supercomputers. Where else, really, can you follow development of a Fortran compiler to run on your BESM-6 emulator under Windows?)

THE ENTREPRENEURIAL does for video and computer games what did for books: Provides a one-stop destination for buying your favorite titles online. From the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64 to the latest Windows and Mac games, all the latest releases are here in an easy-to-use interface with nice search options. Looking to buy games – or even a console – for older platforms like Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo or, God forbid, Atari? Try Telegames Direct. (And if you can't find what you're looking for in either of these two sites, there's always eBay's online auction house.

The Road Rats site is a low-tech but informative primer explaining how to line up jobs delivering new motorhomes to dealers. It's an interesting way to travel on the cheap (assuming you have a clean driving record) and even pick up some living expense money as well.


BrowserWatch is a neat site that keeps up to date on the latest browser technology. If you're tired of being stuck in the middle of the Microsoft vs. Netscape war, this is a good place to find alternatives (like Opera or HotJava for Windows). They list dozens of different browsers for a variety of platforms: Windows, Mac, Unix, Linux, Amiga.

THE SILLY – It's a simple site; just a couple pages, really. Ah, but the topic – that great Norwegian delicacy, lutefisk. Can't have too much lye-cured fish around the house. The site is devoted to "The Last Word on Lutefisk," which is described as "the most comprehensive collection of facts, fiction, and folklore surrounding this simple fish with the unforgettable scent." The book by Gary Legwold (which can be yours for the unbelievably low price of only $14.95) also includes more than 300 lutefisk recipes. If you've ever sat around wondering if anyone ever tried to make lutefisk cordon bleu or perhaps a lutefisk meringue pie, this would be the site to visit.