Back to the mail bag
This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on July 6, 2001
Been a few months since I've dug through my in-box; always a worthwhile venture I mean, if the experts are right and more than 1 million new web pages are being added to the 'Net every day, there's no way one solitary columnist can keep a handle on what's going on. Not without help ...
I've added Overstock.com to my list of online shopping destinations; it's on my Netscape Personal Toolbar for instant access, right next to eBay and Half.com.
Where eBay is the world's largest garage sale, and Half.com is the best place I've found for quickly locating good second-hand books and CDs, Overstock.com is akin to the world's largest liquidation center.
Overstock.com is what its name implies a place where retailers and distributors can unload merchandise that hasn't sold. The day we visited, there were top-quality 17-inch computer monitors for under $200, popular CDs for under $12 (greatest hits collections by Queen and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for instance).
Of course, the selection at a liquidator is never what you'd find elsewhere. But before laying out retail cash for big-ticket items like a computer monitor or DVD player, it's certainly worth visiting Overstock.com to see what they have on hand that week.
Its home page touts itself as the "Radio Revolution," and in this case there's more the corporate slogan than mere hype. What Live365 does is allow you to create your own radio station you choose the songs to play, what order they get played in, and Live365 handles the rest.
You don't even need a broadband connection simply use their online tools to create your playlist, give your station a name, and you're in business.
For the more ambitious, there is a live version of their software if you have a mixing board (software or hardware), you can run a real radio-style webcast with d.j. patter between songs.
The best part is that for individuals, Live365 is free right now. Who knows if that will change in the near future, but it's worth checking out. There is also a series of packages available for businesses and organizations, with a range of prices depending on what you're looking for.
If you want to see what the future of publishing is likely to look like, you might want to stop by Visibooks. A small specialty publisher with a handful of titles on computer instruction (current books are on FrontPage, DreamWeaver and HTML), what sets Visibooks apart is that you don't have to have a paper version you can download them as well.
Now, for those of us (like me) who want a book on the desk next to the keyboard when I'm trying to learn a new program, Visibooks offers spiral-bound versions through Amazon.com. (And give them extra credit for using the spiral binding lets the book open flat to the page you're on.)
At present, the downloadable version of the books are free. My guess is that Visibooks is betting that enough folks will download the free book, like the book and then realize it's worth their while to pay for a print version.
Whether that model works or not, some sort of downloadable alternative will surely accompany ever title published in the not-so-distant future.
If you're at all interested in the cultures of India, then you'll love Namaste.com. An Indian online shopping market, you can find everything here from hard-to-find Indian food (to be able to buy a nice chutney online ...) to Indian movies on DVD to Indian CD releases to books and magazines. No clothing at least, not yet, which is a disappointment. On the up side, for those with family back in India, there is free shipping for all purchases sent to India.
Way back in January, I did a roundup of San Diego theaters with web sites. One I overlooked was Coronado Playhouse. I haven't been to any of their productions, so I can't vouch for the quality, but they do have a reputation as one of the better community troupes in the county. They tackle just about anything upcoming shows include a stage version of "MASH," Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew," and Neil Simon's "California Suite."
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