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Online San Diego

From the October 31, 1997 ComputorEdge (Issue 1544)

By Jim Trageser


Kobey's Swap Meet online? Well, why not – I mean, what is the Internet, after all, if not the world's largest swap meet (or flea market, as we called them back home).

Interestingly, though, Kobey's is not just offering info on their swap meet online – they're jumping into the Internet Service Provider gig as well, under the name of K-Online. Sending out fancy press releases and everything.

The swap meet site has been up for awhile, and is pretty neat – an animated .GIF blimp scrolls across the main page. Low-tech but fun. The main screen has four "tents" you can enter: Info Center, Cyber-Mall, Cyber-Zine and the K-Online site.

The Info Center has prices for vendors, maps of the swap meet layout, a history of the swap meet (started 20 year ago by the late Monte Kobey), and their politically correct list of prohibited items that can't be sold (tobacco, guns, knives, or other "obviously harmful products" -- I guess those double cheeseburgers don't count, eh?).

If you're thinking about selling at Kobey's, the Info Center is a good starting point. If, however, you just want to visit, then the Cyber Mall is the place to go. There is a monthly directory of vendors, links to vendor Web sites, and "Koupons." There is also a prominent sign promising online purchasing in the near future.

The Cyber Zine section is kind of like the Price Club Journal used to be: Articles on vendors and products found at Kobey's, how-to stories on starting your own swap-meet business, that kind of stuff. Fun, but not earth-shaking.

This is a really balanced, well-designed site (despite my pointed digs above). Any business owner who isn't sure how the Internet can help her/his business ought to visit – I mean, a swap meet is as nontechnological as any business, and yet the Kobeys have the Internet working for them.

The K-Online site is equally solid, if less interesting. It offers the usual options on an ISP site: Pricing, plans and self-praise.

Re-Entry Prison & Jail Ministry

Chaplain Art Lyons is certainly not one to worry about popularity -- not when his mission is to work with cons and ex-cons. Not only does Lyons devote his life to trying to straighten out society's least-popular segement (well, excepting only news reporters, lawyers and politicians), he's built a pretty nice Web site to offer assistance to other clergy doing the same work.

The entry screen offers visitors a choice of frames or no frames; the next screen has a menu/index, as well as a greeting from Lyons himself. From there, you can go to Lyons' mission statement (pretty clear-headed), a list of other links and a newsletter.

According to the newsletter, Lyons has some pretty big plans for this Web site – he wants to build a national database of info on jail/prison ministries across the country, and have that database available from the site.