Bits & Bytes
Gen X-ers Say the Darndest Things
PUT FOUR TWENTYSOME-THINGS INTO A ROOM and let them chat about love and sex in the '90s, and what do you get? A Valentine's Day cyberevent. Except this may be closer to Jerry Springer than a Hallmark TV special.
CyberLove--one of the longest-running Internet talk shows (found on www.thesync.com)--"explores the numerous protocols, anguishes, eccentricities, depths, and apotheoses of love, dating, and commitment in today's world," says Carla Cole, the show's 24-year-old moderator. And for Valentine's Day, Cole and her regular panelists (an architect, a "professional feminist," and an out-of-work actor) are cooking up a special show--they just can't agree on what it will be yet. Still, if past shows are any indication, it could be bizarre.
One recent show highlighted the guest appearance of "Baby Mako," a man who likes to dress like a toddler. Other topics the show has covered include the dos and don'ts of cross-dressing, sex with old flames, and whether people would die for love--literally, by making suicide pacts. Explains Cole: "Mainstream media try to glitz and glam everything, but reality is far more interesting." Maybe too interesting for most tastes.EDITED BY STEVE HAMMReturn to top
Sit Back, and Let This Service Do the Surfing
ANALYSTS IN THE INTERNET INDUSTRY say the era of browsing the World Wide Web for kicks is coming to an end. But you wouldn't know that from a survey by ProLaunch (www.prolaunch. com), a new filtering service based in Atlanta. Of 80 topics selected by ProLaunch's 100,000 initial subscribers, the top three were entertainment: movies, weird sites, and music. The first really serious topic--investing--was ranked eighth.
ProLaunch, a free service, offers subscribers who make it their Internet start-page a steady stream of new Web sites that match their personal tastes. "People can browse without searching," says James Lanzone, vice-president for marketing at JuxtaNet Corp., the company that runs ProLaunch.
Lanzone says he was surprised that the "weird sites" category ranked so highly. One such site, Big Green Button (www.geocities. com/Hollywood/5945/bgb/press01.html), consists of a big green button that people can click on--eliciting first threats and then insults for being stupid enough to sit around pushing a big green button. Who says the Web is growing up?EDITED BY STEVE HAMMReturn to top
Fun Still Rules
TOP 5 PERCENTAGE OF
WEB TOPICS PEOPLE SEEKING SITES
WEIRD AND WACKY 44.5
TECH NEWS 37.9
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Introducing Cyber-Age Truck Stops
DRIVING AN 18-WHEELER ON LONG INTERSTATE ROUTES can get awfully lonely and boring. And roadside truck stops don't offer much solace: a few pay phones for calling home, a TV in a smoky lounge playing somebody else's favorite sitcom.
Now, there's a high-tech solution that could be as welcome for truckers as an "Eat" sign along I-80. Park'N View offers cable TV, phone service, and Internet access at 200 truck stops around the U.S. for just $30 per month, plus the cost of an Internet account. After connecting a laptop PC, TV, or phone in the truck to cables in the parking lot, drivers can talk privately on the phone, surf the Web, or watch 18 cable channels.
The service is the brainchild of wireless phone entrepreneur Ian Williams, who plans to expand Coral Springs (Fla.)-based Park'N View to 650 truck stops in the next few years. Trucking companies love the service because it helps them stay in touch with drivers. And truckers rave. "The quality of life on the road just went up 100%," says driver Craig Hilleary. It's the real Information Superhighway.EDITED BY STEVE HAMMReturn to top