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(980106) Building a Tack and Tape
Pacifica, California, USA
The New Year is almost a week old and a lot of the resolutions made have either started to crumble or are simply forgotten. With the promise of a brand new year also comes the motivation and inspiration to start new projects if the previous year's have been completed or, like certain resolutions, simply abandoned. Building a Tack and Tape Rowboat details the labor of love one man put into a small boat which he then put into the water. Perhaps it could be just the thing for the long Winter nights ahead in the Northern Hemisphere or a great way to spend some time out of doors this Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
Mahogany plywood, Bondo brand patching material, fiberglass, regular masking tape, wood glue, screws and thirty eight hours of hard work turned a life-long dream and a cluttered garage into a craft to be proud of. Photographs and pointers to resources such as plans and material suppliers make this site complete. For an seriously detailed version of the journal be certain to look at the hour by hour account (http://www.hallman.org/roar/journal.html). The pride in craftsmanship shows here, both in the images of the boat and the quality of this site. Very nice work. (Back to top of page)
(980107) IRS -- The Digital Daily
Internal Revenue Service
Department of the Treasury
Washington, District of Columbia, USA
In the mail today was the smallest income tax booklet I've ever seen. Even though this agency of the United States Government is using some fairly antiquated computers to keep track of tax payers files, the options for filing a return keep on getting easier. If an individual is interested, they can file their return using a touch-tone phone or modem without ever mailing a thing. Add direct deposit of any refund due and giving Uncle Sam his share almost becomes painless. The unfortunate reality of these new wonders is that only one or two extremely simple forms are used, limiting who can file electronically. Home owners and/or people with shoe boxes full of deductions like children or moving expenses will have a hard time using of these new marvels. Odds are most will wait until the very end to file, rushing around like a crazed baboon trying to meet the April 15th deadline (only 98 days left). This site offers tips for using the appropriate forms and conveniently provides them as downloads to open as Adobe PDF files and print. This method sure beats the heck out of a trip to the public library or Post Office to get forms. You've got to give the folks at the IRS a little credit for putting up this almost fun site. The public relations battle to eliminate the image most of us have of this part of the Federal Government may or may not be easier with items like this. Either way it's good to see them enter the Computer Age. Anyone who pays taxes in the US should have a look, it's your money hard at work. (Back to top of page)
(980108) Powerhouse Museum
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
A New South Wales Government Cultural Institution
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The largest of all museums in Australia, the Powerhouse Museum houses a highly eclectic collection of items and exhibits. Science and technology, the Decorative Arts and Design along with artifacts of Australian social history share the attention of visitors from around the world with annual attendance numbers coming in at one seventh the population of Sydney.
Opened in 1988 in an abandoned electric plant, items in the collection date back to 1879 when they were on display in The Garden Palace, part of the First International Exhibition. The show of invention and industry was so popular that the government procured much of what was on display and opened the Technological, Industrial and Sanitary Museum. Renamed the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in 1945, acquisitions continued to pour in at an ever increasing rate. After much thoughtful planning and foresight, the old power plant used to run urban rail cars back and forth from the original International Exhibition was decided upon and remodeled to accommodate the many items the museum owned. An additional structure was built to house some of the pieces too big even for the powerhouse.
At any given time, only one hundred items can bee seen at this site. With such diverse items as the original voice and aircraft instrument data recorder -- invented by Australian Dr David Warren in 1953 using a wire recorder housed in an a round asbestos box and mounted to the tail of a British Comet or the two thousand Matchbox toy cars and trucks as potential displays, this site is an important visit for museum lovers everywhere. As attention to the Summer Olympics Games being held in Sydney in the year 2000 builds, it is probably safe to say that the Powerhouse Museum site will only get better. (Back to top of page)
(980109) Free Celebrity Calculators For
Dummy Proof Software
Geneva, New York, USA
As a marketing strategy to get you to send in US$5 or $7 to have a custom calculator made from your favorite image, Dummy Proof Software is giving away fully functional samples with the mugs of popular movie stars and singers gracing each one. Previews help eliminate any guess work as evidenced in the dumbfounded look on the face of the David Duchovny (the American Pinocchio) version. It was exactly the look I was hoping he would have, and encouraged me to download it along a few others. They're just basic arithmetic problems Dave -- if only sound could be incorporated. Designed to replace the rarely used standard calculator which installs with either Windows 3.x or Windows 95, this product is another fine example of the programs released by Dummy Proof Software (http://www.dummyproof.com/). Both male and female celebrities are here -- Rod Stewart, Barbara Eden, Harrison Ford, Jewel, John Travolta, Princess Diana, Christian Slater, Whitney Houston and Brad Pitt, to name just a few. For less than ten dollars, and with the royalty-free distribution policy on custom jobs, these would make great advertising or family giveaways. (Back to top of page)
(980110) The Dead Canadians Page
Part of Charlene's Barely Interactive Web Site
Yellowknife, Northern Territories, Canada
Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Eight is off to a big start in the dead people department. When a new year starts out this way, it's often difficult to tell who's dead and who isn't. "Gee, I thought so and so passed away years ago" only to find that s/he was on television last night or has a new book coming out. To add to the confusion, dead people who were famous are assumed to be from the United States and turn out to be from somewhere else. At the time when MTV was figuring out that they make a lot of money by airing more than simply video clips, they produced a youth oriented game show called Remote Control. A hybrid of many panel shows, asking questions from different categories of often quite dense kids just old enough to be on television and thus fitting the targeted demographic. One such category was titled "Dead, Alive or Canadian". At first the people in question were obviously Canadian -- people like Neil Young, Gordie Howe or William Shatner but later they started adding the names of people who were just dead. Charlene Vickers' The Dead Canadians Page takes the entire subject to its logical extreme by listing the life status of Canadians famous at home and in other countries. The list gets longer every time I look and is bound to contain names of people you didn't know were Canadian or still alive, or both. The MIDI arrangement of the Canadian National Anthem "Oh Canada" adds the final touch to this page brimming with national pride and may answer the age-old question "What do exactly they do up there all Winter". (Back to top of page)
(980111) Eric's Treasure Troves of
Eric W. Weisstein
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
The various sections Eric's Treasure Troves of Science cover Astronomy, Chemistry, Math, Music, Physics, and Rocket History, representing ten years worth of work. Compiled solely by Weisstein, the sheer amount of data included at this site is staggering. Best described as part primer, part encyclopedia and part reference document, the globally searchable index alone is a major accomplishment. The depth and variety of topics covered would take hours to view, and are not just written for people with science backgrounds which makes this whole project that more enjoyable to see. Considering that this sort of knowledge is being passed along at no charge, and that as a Research Scientist in the Astronomy Department at the University of Virginia Mr. Weisstein could easily shift the focus of his Treasure Troves of Science to a far more academic level. It's great to see the original purpose of the Internet continued at sites like this one. (Back to top of page)
(980112) USGS -- Water Resources of the
U.S. Geological Survey
Reston, Virginia, USA
The purpose of this site and the team maintaining it is to provide information about water resources in the United States. The impact of everything from weather to wastewater is explored here -- water usage by industry, agriculture and civilian populations included. Pointers to local sites throughout the U.S. help bring the work this department of our Government does that much closer to home. Unless we are experiencing heavy rains or droughts common elsewhere in the world we seldom think about our own water supply. For an in-depth look at current and historical conditions this site is the place. (Back to top of page)
(980113) The American Vaudeville
The American Vaudeville Museum
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Before there was The Ed Sullivan Show or for that matter, commercial television broadcasts of any sort, people used to enjoy variety on stage in the form of Vaudeville. A singer and comedian plus a few dancers and occasionally a real famous person touring the opera and movie houses for months on end. Engagements could last one night (or less), maybe even years depending on the room and durability of the act. By the time television became hugely popular, most of the good Vaudeville performers had moved on to motion pictures and in certain cases, television itself -- the latest and greatest of all novelties up to that point.
Vaudeville has lingered on and is revived from time to time, but never with the glory it once had. Recognizing the value of this art form, people in Boston and around the world opened The American Vaudeville Museum in 1982. Hoping to preserve the grand old theaters as well as the material performed in them, they have seen a level of success with a few Public Television projects and to a greater degree, with supporters of the museum. This site is an excellent introduction to the museum and a magical part of American Popular Culture it honors. Ask somebody over the age of sixty about vaudeville and be prepared for an exciting story or two -- show them this site and make an evening of it. (Back to top of page)
(980114) Project Linus ... Providing Security
Parker, Colorado, USA
The more that I pay attention to it, life has a certain degree of irony to it. Last night a memorial service was held for a friend's mother. She fought a six month battle against cancer which ended on Saturday. Her husband and children were all beside her when she fell into a peaceful sleep, sharing deep laughter with those she loved during the last few minutes awake. One would imagine that she was fully aware of what was happening to her.
Today a reader sent a suggestion for a site that put the past few days into a better perspective. Maintained by a non-profit organization providing comfort to children fighting cancer and other traumas three and four year-olds should never have to deal with. Project Linus has distributed over twenty thousand security blankets through chapters in the U.S. and Canada to children too young to completely understand what is happening to them. Inspired by the courage of a little girl whose own "blankie" helped her through intensive chemotherapy and the stress associated with the treatments, Karen Loucks-Baker started giving blankets to young patients at Denver's Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Center. The simplicity of the project is amazing -- make a forty by sixty inch, washable blanket to help a child deal with something most adults have difficulty with. If you quilt or sew have a look at this site. There's bound to be a few yards of fabric in your supply that could go to good use. The site contains a list of contacts for local chapters, including e-mail addresses and telephone numbers. You can also call (303) 840-1116 or write to Prjctlinus@aol.com for more information. (Back to top of page)
(980115) Mobil Speedpass
Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
While just an average corporate advertising site, this time for a petroleum company, the Speedpass itself is an excellent application of technology. Limited to availability in the U.S. right now, two versions of the transponder device allow drivers to pull into the station and almost instantly start pumping gasoline or diesel fuel. A small key chain unit and another slightly larger model which mounts inside the back windshield communicate with a short range radio frequency device inside the pump. A half meter satellite dish on the roof of the building sends additional information back and forth to a central billing computer, putting the total sale on a charge account. A client who manages a Mobil station told me that sales in the convenience store have suffered but fuel sales have increased because of the Speedpass. There's a higher profit margin on grocery products than gasoline and from the looks of it, you will probably be able to use the transponder for other purchases soon enough. Mobil Oil has competition with the system but seem to have an advantage due to innovation and advertising. The nicely laid out Mobil site (http://www.mobil.com) also provides a station locator and other product information including a section on motor sports. It's things like the Speedpass that are inching us toward becoming a cashless society and I personally think it's pretty cool. (Back to top of page)
(980116) Art Deco Architecture in Kalamazoo,
a Photo Essay by Heidi Dressler
Niigata Prefecture, Japan
Kalamazoo, Michigan is probably best known as being the home of the gal in a song performed by Glen Miller and his Orchestra, and of course, the rash of Elvis sightings a while back. The city in Western Michigan has much more going for it than that however. Certainly not the first municipality which comes to mind when the subject of Art Deco is brought up. Kalamazoo County has many splendid examples of Architecture loosely categorized as Art Deco. During the 1930s and '40s new construction -- almost showcase construction took place. Companies like Upjohn were thriving and expanding there along with local machine shops and other businesses who were building new facilities as well.
Inspired by an award winning presentation given as an undergraduate at Western Michigan University, Ms. Dressler has adapted it for this purpose. The site explores these Midwestern treasures with images and text, sharing examples of Art Deco elements in and around Kalamazoo with the world. (Back to top of page)
(980117) Roger Ebert on Movies
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Roger Ebert, widely known for his work with Gene Siskel and their television show distributed by Disney, also writes about movies for one of Chicago's daily newspapers. For that matter, so does Siskel. The popularity of "Siskel & Ebert" (http://www.tvplex.com/BuenaVista/SiskelAndEbert) on television has a lot to do with the fact that the two critics disagree with each other more often than not. As a viewer I tend to agree more with Siskel than Ebert. The two have different outlooks on the form, I'll remember what Ebert has to say much longer than Siskel because of this. Roger Ebert tends to look at movies from a technical standpoint, and with good reason. As the writer of "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls" released in 1970, and various programs for television, he knows the ropes. This presents a problem in that he occasionally forgets, as Fran Lebowitz observed about film critics that "If movies are such a high art form why do they show them in places that sell Orange Crush and JuJu Bees?". The paradox continues, suspension of disbelief is an often vital skill to have watching a picture. Roger Ebert understands this but doesn't like producers or directors who rely on the device -- for that reason above all others, his reviews are solid.
Part of the Chicago Sun-Times site (http://www.suntimes.com), Roger Ebert on Movies offers his columns and other material along with reviews of various depth. Recognizing that many of us do not care for full plot summaries, abridged versions and the traditional star rating systems are employed providing three levels of review. As with any critic's work, reading in-depth reviews of something one is already familiar with will tell you how much water the shorter recommendations will hold for you. For individuals who prefer to know as much as possible about a title before plunking down the six to ten dollars a ticket now costs, the full reviews are fair and sound. After doing this for over thirty years Roger Ebert has a style hard to beat. (Back to top of page)
(980118) Swedish Idioms in Painfully Literal
East Harriet Associates
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Swedish Idioms in Painfully Literal Translation is an extensive collection of exactly what it sounds like. Take expressions with highly developed regional and cultural meaning in Sweden and port them directly to English. The results will either be excruciatingly funny or surreal -- or both:
Where is the dog buried?
Var är hunden begraven?
-- Vad är haken/What's the catch?
Goes it then goes it said the old hag who swallowed a tram
Går det så går det sa' kärringen som svalde en spårvagn
-- Anything is possible
There is no cow on the ice.
Det är ingen ko på isen.
-- No danger. Don't worry. Everything will be OK.
Most of the items here are submitted by visitors from Sweden, making explanations of translations that much more authentic. Maintained by David Curle who speaks Swedish at home and offers legal translation services for his own firm, Swedish Idioms in Painfully Literal Translation is a very entertaining look at common ideas and expressions with a strange twist. If you enjoyed Lost In The Translation (http://hearsay.simplenet.com/translation/index.htm) (SdJotD 970524) this is required reading. (Back to top of page)
(980119) Passenger Ships: Titanic
RMS Titanic, Inc. Online
RMS Titanic, Inc.
New York, New York, USA
This episode of Site du Jour of the Day follows a certain odd thematic thread on the heels of the past two -- Roger Ebert on Movies (SdJotD 980117) and Swedish Idioms in Painfully Literal Translation (SdJotD 980118) lead us to a section of Lars Bruzelius' The Maritime History Virtual Archives (http://pc-78-120.udac.se:8001/WWW/Nautica/Nautica.html) titled Passenger Ships: Titanic. After writing the fore mentioned episodes yesterday I went to see the motion picture Titanic. It was very well done and must be seen by anyone with even a casual interest.
When Hollywood tackles subjects of such historical sensitivity there are always divisions drawn -- purists on one side and everybody else on the other. While in the process of scouting sites for this episode, the first useful site found turns up in Sweden. Passenger Ships: Titanic is an excellent collection of pointers to outside resources on the ship and its history, electronic and otherwise. As a courtesy to Mr. Bruzelius I strongly recommend loading this page up once and saving the HTML file to your local hard drive for future use. Although he holds copyright protection, it is on his server at work and may not always be available. By eliminating unnecessary traffic it will probably stay up that much longer. If you need assistance in saving the file please send me a message.
RMS Titanic, Inc. Online is maintained by the public company with salvage and scientific exploration rights as granted by The United States Federal Court on two separate occasions. With technical data about the discovery process and images of recovered artifacts this site looks at the current status of everything Titanic. Traveling exhibit dates and venues are listed along with a section selling merchandize to help fund the project. Of note to consumers are the $US10 lumps of coal recovered from the boiler of the ship and available for purchase. Crass as it may seem they'll probably sell a few tons of the stuff. The collection of pointers have a more commercial slant but they own the rights so who can blame them.
That a disaster at sea still holds our interest nearly ninety years later is amazing. These two sites should help dispell the myths and historical inaccuracies generated by the recent interest in the Titanic. As available resources, they are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. (Back to top of page)
(980120) The Mighty Mouse Home
London, Ontario, Canada
I remember wondering when I was a kid, about six or seven years old, why Mighty Mouse didn't fly to Disneyland and take over the whole empire. He could lick Mickey with one hand tied behind his back no question about it. Mighty Mouse was always beating the tar out of mean cats so the two dogs wouldn't be a problem. Donald would be running for help before any of this even started so he was no threat. Tinkerbell might be the only one quick enough to fight off the operatic mouse -- what with that magic wand and all. Then again, maybe all I remember is how much I hated having to get up at six in the morning to watch Mighty Mouse.
Mighty Mouse is still a favorite, especially the older shorts that had him showing up at the last minute "to save the day". There is a shortage of information about this Terrytoons creation, which is surprising. You'd think that site after site would be extolling the virtues of the toughest (yet kindest) mouse ever. The Mighty Mouse Home Page is the best I've found to date. Created by Wynn Hamonic as a school project for a course at The Graduate School of Library and Information Science at The University of Western Ontario, his Mighty Mouse pages contain a concentrated history of our hero. A hero who started out as a parody of Superman -- called Super Fly. (Back to top of page)
(980121) ACLU: American Civil Liberties
American Civil Liberties Union
New York, New York, USA
"So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for
their rights, we'll be called a democracy."
-- ACLU founder Roger Baldwin
It's probably safe to say that the ACLU has done more to help define and protect the Constitution than any other organization, at least in this century. A nonprofit, nonpartisan group of over 275,000 people, the ACLU is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals in the United States of America. This site is part historical record, part public relations tool and part fundraiser. For anyone interested in how a government for and by the people works, the material here is important to read. Since 1920 the ACLU has been involved in so many important cases that it's hard to imagine what America would be like without them. (Back to top of page)
(980122) Gilstrap: All About René
Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
In addition to being a columnist for the Phoenix New Times (http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com) Peter Gilstrap is a collector of phonographic oddities and assorted images of Jesus. It Crawled From The Bins showcases album covers found in moldy corners of thrift shops, records that were used as for promotions by corporate boneheads as motivational tools and propaganda. Lounge singers and just plain bad ideas from the Artist and Repertoire Department are also included. The artwork on these packages come across as either brilliant or so bad they fit in the "what the heck were they thinking" category -- or both.
The second half of this site is called Jesus Of The Week and looks at the many interpretations and renderings of Jesus. If you fear that your sensibilities and religious beliefs could be offended by such images (none of which are intentionally blasphemous) please do not visit that part. Commentary by Gilstrap accompanies each image and comes across as funny -- in context. Poking fun at the artists involved more than the subject, you get the impression that everyone involved may eventually burn in Hell and/or Jesus must have a decent sense of humor because people are still creating these sometimes wretched portraits.
The site will keep most entertained for hours, a quick loading and good looking site. The Popular Culture explored here is thought provoking if nothing else. (Back to top of page)
(980123) Parents of
Maintained by Mary Foley
Grayslake, Illinois, USA
For most expectant parents there are a world of questions and curiosities and as our family units become more spread out the answers get harder to find. Grandparents to be are in another part of the country and like that. From what I am led to believe, the process of raising children becomes easier the more you have and the older they get. When the diagnosis is twins (or more) a whole new set of concerns opens up. Who would be better to ask than parents of twins/multiples. Compiled Frequently Asked Questions from the Twins List make up the majority of the content here. Issues addressed range from social to psychological -- feeding, clothing, identifying, educating and adjusting to the joy of multiple bundles of joy. I was going to write about this great idea I had for a TV show, the premise being based on these two cousins that could pass for identical twins. They would be cousins, identical cousins. Unfortunately, questions about their children seem to be one of the things parents of twins/multiples tire of. I'd bet though that on at least one occasion some new Dad o' Twins has been foolish enough to suggest the idea of sending one of the new arrivals to his sister in Maine, actually thinking it a good idea and that it would make things easier. Poor fellow, he made me think of it. This site offers interesting insight into the processes and procedures of raising children a few at a time. Ideal for expectant parents and others simply interested in how it all works out. (Back to top of page)
(980124) NASA Aeronautics
Jeff Berton, Curator
Propulsion Systems Analysis Office
NASA Lewis Research Center
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
The space program has contributed so many advances to science that it would be hard to imagine what life would be like without it. More impressive and less obvious are the technologies made available to the civilian population as a result of this research and development. Easily identified products like Tang Breakfast Drink come to mind. NASA Aeronautics Cyberpostcards allows you to send a greeting touting the benefits of the program to Aviation, a field somewhat closer to our everyday lives than outer space. These new postcards are limited right now to High Speed Research and General Aviation Propulsion, but the site promises photographs and educational material to accompany future cards. Subjects such as Advanced Subsonic Technology, High Performance Computing, Materials, Icing Research, Acoustics, Turbomachinery, Environmental Research Aircraft and Smart Green Engines are on the way and should generate additional interest while providing a unique and interesting way to say hello. A fantastic program for teachers, parents or anyone else who appreciates the practical application of science. (Back to top of page)
During the next week Site du Jour of the Day episodes will look at (and hear) sites offering audio content in the RealAudio format in addition to traditional forms of delivery. It should be a lot of fun. If you have a favorite site that offers audio content feel free to send the URL along.
(980125) RealNetworks, The Home of RealAudio,
RealVideo and RealFlash
Seattle, Washington, USA
With sound hardware installed, most browsers will allow you to hear the WAV, MIDI and AU files offered at a site. With the addition of RealAudio to your browsers plug-ins, over 75,000 hours per week of live audio become usable. The player is an add-on element that enables your browser to decompress and play high quality audio in mono or stereo using a standard modem, ISDN or LAN connection. The player is constantly being upgraded and can be downloaded free at this site. I have found that RealAudio works best with a fast processor and good connection but there are ways around these limitations should your machine not have what it takes. Installing a previous version of the player may not be compatible with files sent specifically for the current version but will probably work in most cases. A system backup should be performed before installing anything.
RealNetworks, Inc. make their money licensing the creation and transmission software used and provides the player free of charge. There are enhanced versions available that look like pretty good deals making it fairly clear that the industry standard has been set. (Back to top of page)
(980126) Nancy's Place For Polkas
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Nancy's Place For Polkas explores the current state of Polka, Cleveland Style more specifically. A performing and recording artist herself, Hlad is only twenty four years-old yet has built herself a solid reputation in the polka world since her first release in 1990. The Button Accordion is her axe of choice and samples from her releases are available in the sections profiling her own music, and that of such polka legends as America's Polka King Frank Yankovic, Roger Bright, Eddie Blazonczyk, and Verne and Steve Meisner. Touring and biographical information along with general news can be found as well. Resources for purchasing titles and instruments, organizations like The International Polka DJ Association plus a listing of radio and television shows that air in the US and Canada. Not content with maintaining just Nancy's Place For Polkas, Ms. Hlad is also responsible for the site for The National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum (http://www.clevelandstyle.com/index.html), a perfect companion site looking back at the history of the form. This is a complete Cleveland Style polka site for artists and fans who enjoy "The Happiest Music on the Planet". (Back to top of page)
(980127) Dallas/Fort Worth Air Traffic
Control Live Audio
Dallas, Texas, USA
The PC Help Group, Inc.
Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Sponsored by SimuFlite Training International (http://www.simuflite.com/), a training center at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the RealAudio stream on this page is the live transmission from the Air Traffic Control Tower at the airport. Individuals who have flown aircraft might find this feed somewhat dull, but for civilians who have no idea what goes on between pilots and the tower it can be an informative and even enlightening experience to listen in on. As their name implies, SimuFlite Training International uses flight simulators instead of sending students out in the King Air, Citation, Lear, Falcon or Gulfstream brand jets right away. If nothing else, it probably keeps things in the tower a bit more calm. For commercial and freight carriers Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is a busy place.
Couldn't help add the second site to this episode. The PC Help Group, Inc. has put together instructions for creating a dozen different paper airplanes. Make a few and fly them around while you are listening to the fun in the tower. Don't be surprised if someone walks in and cannot figure out just what it is you are doing. (Back to top of page)
(980128) The Whistleblower
Or "Some of the News They Seem to Lose"
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Taking topical (inter)national news stories from Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, The Whistleblower Newswire mixes juvenile commentary and WAV files into just the sort of site you think it is. Rather than waste time editing audio tracks from press conferences, every entry concludes with a link to an appropriate noise or chunk of dialog that has nothing to do with the item, but in this twisted context works very well. The current attention to President Clinton and his hobbies, fondly referred to as Zippergate here dominate issues from the past few days. When there is nothing much going on in the news the subjects range from local idiots on the air and in Cincinnati Government to just plain malicious attacks on anyone famous enough to sell papers. Overall, The Whistleblower Newswire is a rude, disgusting waste of time and bandwidth showing little respect or compassion -- the beauty part is that there's a fresh issue six times a week. (Back to top of page)
(980129) The Classical MIDI
Pierre R. Schwob
Palo Alto, California, USA
Housing a superb collection of over 4,500 Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) files of Classical pieces, this site provides even the most casual listener a chance to hear music from long dead masters in a new-fangled way. While there is a lot to be said for listening to more traditional recordings or live performances, the small file sizes related to MIDI files make for fast download times to your browser or within the limits set forth, on a stand alone MIDI player like MIDIGATE offered as Shareware by Schwob. A widely mirrored site available from servers in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland, transfers are speedy and clean. The almost anti-organic aspect of the file format may leave a few die-hard aficionados cold, but for technological ease in composing, arranging and performing, MIDI can't be beat. Some of the pieces here are original, submitted by individuals around the globe proving that the Do It Yourself aspect of home recording has been embraced by more than a few long-hair types. A perfect site for those interested in discovering Classical melodies without the expense of purchasing an "8,000 Most beloved themes we butchered out of your favorite Classics" type CD collection. In most cases the entire piece is represented here -- not just a movement or two. (Back to top of page)
(980130) The Vincent Voice Library at Michigan
The Vincent Voice Library
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan, USA
The Library at Michigan State University houses the collection of voice recordings started by G. Robert Vincent in 1912. Using an Edison Recording Machine and wax cylinders, President "Teddy" Roosevelt was the first of over 50,000 people during the past 100 years who have contributed by speaking into various devices. This site has a mere fraction of the library but short segments are available from all US Presidents since Grover Cleveland. Other notables represented here include Edwin Booth and Florence Nightingale in 1890, George Washington Carver and Amelia Earhart from the 1930s, Betty Ford and Anwar Sadat in the 1970s.
Similar to the American Memory site from the Library of Congress (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/ammemhome.html) (SdJotD 971018) because Mr. Vincent's was also the Curator of the National Digital Library which it represents. Pointers and instructions explaining the technology used to deliver the sounds to visitors of this site and to the physical library itself. It's nice to learn that many of these recordings exist and are available to hear, especially without a taking a trip to East Lansing or Washington D.C. (Back to top of page)
(980131) The Daily.WAV
Lawrence, Kansas, USA
The Daily.WAV has a very nice collection of WAV files from mainly movies and television. Each file is clearly defined, there are no surprises or disappointments here -- you know what is offered before committing the time to downloading and listening to a specific file. This extra effort in transcription also annotates the source and actor(s) involved. Adding files every weekday and filling requests when time allows over the weekend help to keep this cross section of Popular Culture fresh even though samples go back many years. The well organized Archives will keep you busy for hours. (Back to top of page)
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Copyright 1997, 1998 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
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Updated February 1, 1998
This Archive has been opened times since January 11, 1998.