Welcome to the Site du Jour of the Day Archive for December 1998, companion site for the original e-mail version of Site du Jour of the Day. Episodes are sent out seven times a week to people around the world.


Site du Jour of the Day

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December 1998
























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(981201) Net-Announce!

Alicia Polk
Electronic Resource Services
Kansas City, Missouri, USA

One of the reasons Site du Jour of the Day was started grew out of the frustration of following pointers from others sites. All too often, what someone thinks of as being a site worth visiting turns out to be a silly waste of time — especially if there is only a pointer and no description. The same can be said for Site du Jour of the Day recommendations occasionally I'm sure. But as I see it, if a site is good enough to write about it can't be all that bad. Not every site profiled is one everyone will be interested in, it works out well that way.

Imagine a site that takes articles written by people submitting their own sites, and better yet, articles recommending sites by individuals who have no connection with the site they have written about. Moderated by Alicia Polk and going back to October 1996, Net Announce is a serious resource for learning about different sites without the smoke and mirrors of the larger "Announce-o-Matic" services. No miracle cures or instant fortune pitches, few commercial sites and no adult content sites. The articles can be all one needs to decide about visiting the site in question and because various people are writing there is variety galore. The e-mail version of Net Announce goes out twice a week and only lists sites listed as opposed to sending out every article. That way if something catches your attention you can look further by connecting to the Net Announce site, reading what is said, and then going on. To subscribe to Net Announce, visit their site or send an e-mail message to (nalist@erspros.com). Include the word "subscribe" in the message. If you enjoy Site du Jour of the Day episodes you will probably enjoy Net Announce.  (Back to top of page)

(981202) The History of Plumbing

The PlumbingSupply Group
Chico, California, USA

Originally printed in Plumbing & Mechanical (http://www.pmmag.com/) a trade publication owned by Business News Publishing Company, The History of Plumbing is just one part of PlumbingSupply.com. This is an excellent series that traces indoor plumbing back to Babylon. Included is The History of Plumbing in Babylon, ancient Egypt and Crete, Jerusalem, Pompeii as well as Roman, English and American developments. The text and images help to paint a very clear picture of how people washed and cooked in the days before our modern indoor plumbing. Good story telling and history aside, it might be difficult to take this subject seriously especially with sections titled Sir Thomas Crapper Myths and Realities and the White House plumbing, but both contain some mighty interesting information. PlumbingSupply boasts that they have thousands of parts in stock and it's nice to see a site that has everything — including the history of the kitchen sink.  (Back to top of page)

(981203) Muhnchies

Nanette Muhn
Trout Creek, Montana, USA

A reader in Connecticut wrote the other day to tell me about some delicious hand-made chocolates they had on Thanksgiving Day. More to the point, about a fun little contest open to children ages eight and under being held by the chocolate maker. Muhnchies "Invent A Snack For Santa" contest is looking for a new recipe to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve. Creations from three finalists will be left out and judged by Santa himself. The winner will receive a pound of their chocolate snack invention every month until next Christmas, and enough to share at school when birthday time rolls around. If that wasn't enough, the new product will carry the name of the winner. Talk about the ultimate way to make points with Santa Claus — "Hey Santa," the reindeer will say after eating a few pieces of yummy chocolate "that (insert childs name here) is sure good this year!" Coming up with entry ideas might be a great way to spend time with the kids and wrangle some extra help in the kitchen during the holidays — once you all get hopped up on chocolate who knows what'll happen. Deadline for entries is December 20, 1998. The Muhnchies site is an interesting look at a small family run business and an inspiration to the entrepreneurial spirit, the hand-painted candy boxes are cool too.  (Back to top of page)

(981204) Planet Magazine

Andrew G. McCann, Ray Dangel, and Romeo Esparrago
Cape Fear, New York, USA

Planet Magazine is more than just an outlet for new Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. As a quarterly collection of short stories, artwork and even poetry, it is living proof that traditional print publications may be facing some mighty tough times as their market changes. The material presented in Planet Magazine comes from individuals living in many different places and with varying degrees of talent. Once confined to low-budget printing options on a local or regional level, electronic magazines or e-zines as they are called have grown in quality and numbers during the past few years. At one time such journals were distributed as plain text files on disk to computer users around the world. This method of distribution eliminated the largest single expense and challenge most publishers encounter — paper distribution. The Internet has changed things further, and through the evolution of HTML layout options have vastly improved. Since the middle of 1993 Planet Magazine has helped shape the future of an art form by actually taking part in the revolution that was once only considered possible by Science Fiction itself. Having no budget to speak of, Planet Magazine relies on contributions of work by visitors and fans, and it would seem that there is no shortage of either. The stories are consistently good and the site is laid out very well. Archives going back to December 1995 are available and that's not all — editor Andrew G. McCann is the guy responsible for building that giant face on Mars.  (Back to top of page)

(981205) No cow's milk for me thanks!
The U.K.'s only Dairy-Free site

Cambridge, England

This site explores options available to those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to cow's milk and is designed primarily for individuals in the U.K. where there is not a lot of available information on the subject. International visitors will also find the site worth looking at for the wealth of resources available, especially helpful for travelers are the product/brand listings of milk alternatives, and medications available in the U.K. Pointers to other sites in the US and Australia can also be found here making No cow's milk for me thanks! an ideal first stop for anyone who has or suspects that they might be suffering from allergies or lactose intolerance. As always, seek the advice of medical professionals before starting any treatment or diet, and make certain to ask questions along the way.  (Back to top of page)

(981206) UK RealAudio Tuner

Nottingham's Only Alternative
URN: 1602 AM / FM 97.5
Nottingham, England

Currently listing sixteen radio stations broadcasting RealAudio Streams, this section of Nottingham's Only Alternative URN: 1602 AM / FM 97.5 (http://urn.nott.ac.uk) has something for every taste. Of course you'll want to visit the rest of the URN site for additional information about current promotions, program schedules and pointers to other sites, including those of other student radio stations (http://urn.nott.ac.uk/links/sradio2.html). The British charts are often filled with singles that never live long enough to be exported so there's always something new to enjoy. URN is in the process of enhancing their networks but pre-recorded content can be heard during the time URN's regular live RealAudio Stream is down. Confident enough in the quality of their own programming to suggest other stations while they are upgrading, the folks at URN should be commended for providing such an excellent reference for the world.  (Back to top of page)

(981207) PA NewsCentre: Sport: Cricket
Live ball-by-ball scores direct from the scorers' laptops

Press Association Group
London, England

England's winter tour of Australia is in full swing through the middle of February and the PA NewsCentre site (http://www.pa.press.net/) goes well beyond being the best source for current and historical cricket scores, standings and information. Through the wonders of modern technology fans of the sport can view results as they happen, direct from laptop computers being used to officially score the matches. Through a project called Cricket Record, a joint venture between the Press Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board, databases and displays are updated with every ball being bowled — not just from the winter tour, but scorecards for all major competitions. All of this occurs in a matter of seconds with data being made available free of charge to site visitors and media outlets otherwise subscribing to PA's services. Traditionalists may find this change in score delivery unnecessary, but for the rest of us it's a perfect application of existing technology. For individuals not all that familiar with cricket it could be the perfect introduction to the game.  (Back to top of page)

(981208) sixdegrees

MacroView Communications Corp.
New York, New York, USA

Statistical theory has it that through family and personal relationships, every person on the planet directly or indirectly knows every other person through no more than five others. Popular Culture has had fun with this game of conect-the-dots for a while at the expense of actor Kevin Bacon and now it's our turn. By urging visitors to sign up and contact family and friends with e-mail addresses, the folks at MacroView Communications Corp. hope to build a large enough database to show sixdegrees in real life. Once you've signed up and provided the e-mail addresses for two or more people there are opportunities to share movie reviews and site suggestions with your "circle" — your contacts and their contacts. Chat boards and a slew of options will eventually make it possible to communicate with your small group or the rest of world, at least those people who have signed up. sixdegrees Is an interesting concept that could prove to be very entertaining and useful as it grows.  (Back to top of page)

(981209) SUPER MARKETING: Ads from the comic books

Steve Conley
Arlington, Virginia, USA

Originally Site du Jour of the Day (970523)
May 23, 1997

At one time or another almost every one of us has been lured in by the advertisements in comic books or teen magazines promising FREE PRIZES for selling seeds, greeting cards, etc. or offering exotic animals as pets (all absolutely FREE). The only thing you paid for was shipping and handling. There were the monsters, dolls, submarines and my personal favorite — the X-Ray Specs, which of course I never ordered. To this day I have yet to see a pair in real life.

SUPER MARKETING: Ads from the comic books brings a cross section of these brilliant gems to computer screens with scanned versions (in two sizes) and in certain cases, related links. A recent addition to the site is descriptions and recollections of what one would have received, all submitted by individuals who ordered such things as children. More people need to share their memories here and I urge you to visit if for no other reason than to relive (and possibly share) a magical part of your childhood whether it was during the '50s, '60s or early '70s. Maybe that way we can figure out how those darn X-Ray Specs worked without looking like dummies.  (Back to top of page)

(981210) Radio Santa Claus
Joulupukki Radio

Santa Claus
Korvatunturi - Ear Mountain
Savukoski, Finnish Lapland

Finnish Lapland is a magical place, home to reindeer and Radio Santa Claus. Each day in December leading up to his big night, Santa Claus sends a out special message from his broadcast facility at Ear Mountain. Strategic Visions Ltd has come to the aid of Santa Claus by hooking up RealAudio Streams from this site allowing kids world-wide a chance to hear from him. The daily messages are available in both English and Finnish language versions featuring progress reports and hints from Joulupukki on being well behaved. The two versions of the message and site are slightly different in layout and/or content, both are worth experiencing. Santa Claus sounds good for himself, but did mention the names of a few children who could end up on either list this year — you might want to listen in.  (Back to top of page)

(981211) Researching Companies Online

Debbie Flanagan
Houston, Texas, USA

As the closing of the year draws near getting a jump on the next one is hardly a concern for most of us, yet the prospect of making life a little more comfortable is something we all strive for. Financial independence might be nice to try on for a while and although arriving at such a station in life is never easy, getting there can be less of a challenge if you know how. Investments and hard work can lead to financial security either by knowing who's stock to buy or which companies are better than others to work for. Even self-employment can become more profitable if you know what the market is and more importantly, what the competition is up to. Finding a single source or tool for such tasks can be a big job in and of itself, for many people it takes years of experience to gain the wisdom and knowledge necessary these days to succeed. For those individuals just getting started and even veterans in the field, Debbie Flanagan's Researching Companies Online site is an incredible collection of outside pointers and tutorials for developing even the most basic of all skills — knowing where to look and what to look for. Debbie Flanagan's tips and hints are well thought out and this, coupled with data from featured sites, helps to make Researching Companies Online far less intimidating than you would think. A very useful site and it's free too.

For additional reference material and resources available at your local library be sure to visit The Gale Group (http://www.gale.com) the largest single provider of such information. (Back to top of page)

(981212) Blackham Christmas Stories Page

Grayson, Jennifer and Landon Blackham
Midvale, Utah, USA

Over eighty stories and legends with a Christmas theme have been rounded up and indexed on this page, a part of The Blackham Family Page (http://www.wipd.com/~blackham/). Pieces such as Babouscka, Billy Miske's Last Fight, Dickens' A Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, Jello Christmas, Keeping Christmas by Henry Van Dyke, Frank A. Baum's A Kidnaped Santa Claus, The Littlest Angel, Olive the Other Reindeer by Micheal Christie, [Artaban] The Other Wise Man, The Pine Tree by Hans Christian Anderson, Thunder Oak, and the classic holiday jewel Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus can all be found. There has obviously been a lot of care put into these pages and it shows.

On a fascinating side note, be sure to have a look at the following page at the Antiques Roadshow site (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/roadshow/home.html). The television show originates at WGBH in Boston and takes appraisers to locations throughout North America to meet with people and offer advice about their treasures. The spot to see (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/roadshow/1997/phoenix1.html) is from an episode shot in Phoenix, Arizona and gives a bit of information on that famous letter from Virginia to the editor of The New York Sun a hundred and one years ago.  (Back to top of page)

(981213) Chanukah On the Net

Studio Melizo
Levittown, New York, USA

At sundown tonight the Jewish holiday of Chanukah begins and Chanukah On the Net offers a lively exploration of the Festival of Lights. While there are several interpretations of the origin of this holiday, many traditions have survived and developed during the 2,300 years since the Maccabees triumphed over the Syrians in Israel. Visitors to this site can learn about this important conflict, light a candle on the virtual menorah, sing the Dreidel Song while spinning a dreidel or just enjoy the other activities and features. The RealAudio Stream of prayers and music by Cantor Pinchas Rabinovicz may be considered out of place by some but add a great deal to the site.

If your holiday celebrations begin tonight, I'd like to wish you a happy Chanukah!  (Back to top of page)

(981214) Furby Autopsy

Lars Norpchen
Phobe Industries
San Francisco, California, USA

The hottest toy this season is the Furby (http://www.game.com/furby/index.html), a cross between Gremlins from the movies and our old friend Teddy Ruxpin (see Vaughn Hangartner's Teddy Ruxpin Frequently Asked Questions and Information page (http://www.mindspring.com/~mathue/faq.html). Furby has been responsible for about a dozen assault charges being filed outside of the Meg-a-Lo Mart in the US since Thanksgiving Day. Shoppers spreading a little good cheer after missing the opportunity to buy from the limited supply of the toy made available by Tiger Electronics, LTD. have shown poor sportsmanship, but consider the source. Television news magazines have run packages shot using hidden cameras. People are successfully and legally selling Furby for hundreds of dollars — suggested retail is $30! One woman was shamed into admitting to having paid $250 each for three of the things when asked why she was offering them for $300 a pop, buyers remorse perhaps?

The good people at Phobe Industries are performing a public service here, we all know that curious children will be performing the same operation on little Furby in spite of the fact that any warranty offered by the manufacturer will be instantly voided at the first incision. Phobe Industries bought a Furby that was broken, they satisfied a need to know and are sharing their findings with the world. There might be an important lesson in all of this for the children not lucky enough to receive a Furby — it's not that mommy and daddy don't love you, it may simply be Santa's way of telling you that you were bad. The black market price Furby is fetching at this moment is equal to the cost of a darn good lawn mower. Think of all the Furby toys a kid can buy after a summer full of lawn mowing jobs.  (Back to top of page)

(981215) Virtual Plague(sm)

San Francisco, California, USA

Holiday cheer getting you down? Is there someone in the office you'd like to see all rosy and bright — pocket full of posies style? Send 'em a Virtual Infection™ complete with a description of symptoms, microscopic images and of course, your own special greeting. Electronic postcards have never been quite this infectious and thanks to EvilPeople,INC. sending Ebola, Rabies, Anthrax, Leprosy and a host of other colorful flavors has never been easier. The message announcing your gift will not contain a computer virus or real life pathogen so there's no worry there. As long as it's in the name of good clean fun, nothing says "Season's Greetings" like the twelve days of Tetanus.  (Back to top of page)

(981216) Snowflakes You Can Make

George the Gnome
Tifton, Georgia, USA


Paper Snowflakes - Free Instructions

Maddy and Maverick
Hixson, Tennesee, USA


Winter Holidays - Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa & Winter Solstice

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings, Inc.
South Burlington, Vermont, USA

(As I was scouting sites for this episode, the walls here started shaking. A tremendous shock wave rippled through the relatively cool (55°F), clear Florida night air. It was a sonic boom generated by the space shuttle returning home from an historic mission. The International Space Station is a reality up there, and even though it has nothing to do with paper snowflakes it seemed like something I should share. My ears still hurt from it.)

Every year right about this time, the art of cutting snowflakes from folded sheets of paper is taught to another generation. Many adults have forgotten the simple pleasure of taking a plain piece of paper and creating unique decorations. It's easy, inexpensive, and great fun. The three sites included here provide slightly different methods and motivations when it comes to making snowflakes. George the Gnome gives basic instructions for one shape using a few images and directions that are easy enough to follow. Maddy and Maverick increase the degree of difficulty and loading time with larger pictures of the elusive six point snowflake. They also share the steps for a five pointer and even a small boat. The pitch for paper squares could be worse and the price isn't that bad — if you don't already have a source for scrap paper. Ben & Jerry want you to enjoy the winter holidays and buy some of their ice cream. A smattering of holiday activities and pointers plus good looking step by step directions for the "Cone Flakes" and "Pints & Cones Flake" make for some clever marketing by a pretty cool company. Cutting paper snowflakes is a nice way to unwind, and the kids can't help but join right in. I'd be willing to bet that every crew member of the recent shuttle mission has made paper snowflakes at one time or another. Such a wonderful tradition should be cherished and passed on.  (Back to top of page)

(981217) The Clint Howard Project

Andy Ihnatko
Norwood, Massachusetts, USA

You may not think you know who Clint Howard is, but you do. That was the argument once made on a trip to the Florida Keys after playing a game of Guess What I'm Thinking. Inspired by the fact that we were driving through the area where one of Clint Howard's first television shows was filmed, I couldn't help but think of him. The shows Gentle Ben and Howard-less Flipper both had segments shot at Port of the Everglades in Collier County, just outside of Naples, Florida. It was only natural at that point to introduce Ron Howard's little brother to my traveling companions. Clint Howard has starred in five series, made guest appearances in fifty television episodes, acted in eleven television movies and fifty-four feature films. Some of this work has stemmed from being Ron's brother to be sure, but guess who was the voice actor for Roo in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day? Clint Howard even had a part in Walt Disney's The Jungle Book. If you still don't know who he is, visit The Clint Howard Project, a part of Andy Ihnatko's Colossal Waste Of Bandwidth (http://macworld.zdnet.com/andyi/departments.html) in the section called Andy Ihnatko's Fabulous Fridge of Cinema (http://macworld.zdnet.com/andyi/fridge.html). Not only has Andy Ihnatko assembled a fitting collection of photographs, but the Complete Clintography is there as well — a must see for Clint Howard fans everywhere.

When he's not watching television or out at the movies, Andy Ihnatko writes about Macintosh computers and other stuff for the likes of Macworld, MacUser and Yahoo Internet Life. He is also the author of a book titled Cyber Speak: An Online Dictionary, published by Random House a year ago.  (Back to top of page)

(981218) XMAS 101 FM: Special Broadcasts Radio Stations on broadcast.com

broadcast.com inc.
Dallas, Texas, USA

Christmas music in all styles, for every taste. RealAudio Streams delivered without commercial interruption 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Everyday will be like a holiday.  (Back to top of page)

(981219) Vegetarian Holiday from the Good Karma Cafe

Kristi Sadler
Good Karma Cafe
Houston, Texas, USA

All too often we pull out the stops when preparing meals this time of the year. Our habits as a society have changed dramatically in the past fifty years to the point where the use of lard is no where near as common as it once was but rich foods are still the rule in December. For individuals who choose not to eat meat or the like, it can be downright sickening to visit with friends and family. Vegetarian Holiday from the Good Karma Cafe offers up recipe ideas for the many degrees of Vegetarianism, and more importantly suggestions for approaching the subject beforehand with guests who might drop by. If eating better is a resolution for the New Year, this might be as good a time as any to start. The average holiday plate has 2,500 calories in it and no matter how charming it may sound, tales of coronary bypass surgery in holiday newsletters are not festive. Cutting back on fat in your diet is a good start and is so easy to do. Vegetarian Holiday from the Good Karma Cafe has something for everyone, not just Vegetarians.  (Back to top of page)

(981220) Christmas-Software.com

Dave Munsie
Haltom City, Texas, USA



CNET, Inc.
San Francisco, California, USA

If you haven't gathered some already, there are many screen savers, games, music and wallpaper packages with holiday themes available to download. These two sites offer Freeware and Shareware files by the trunk-load. Christmas-Software.com lists holiday titles exclusively, and a simple search for "Christmas" at Download.com turns up pages of options. Holidays other than Christmas will turn up similar results when entered. Macintosh users should head directly to Download.com as the files at Christmas-Software.com are only for Windows 95/98/NT systems. Shareware is a "try it before you buy it" method of purchasing and distributing software. If enough people register and/or purchase a title, it encourages the publisher to the keep a project going. Discovering a new computer on the big day would bring great joy to almost anyone, finding it running a holiday screen saver would make it that much more memorable.  (Back to top of page)

(981221) Rock the Vote
Rock the Vote
Rock the Vote
Santa Monica, California, USA

On Saturday, the United States House of Representatives (http://www.house.gov/) voted to impeach President Clinton. This issue is still a long way from being resolved, and the next stop is the United States Senate (http://www.senate.gov/). As the situation plays itself out public opinion polls are showing overwhelming support for the President. No matter what your view on the whole subject is, there is one important factor I feel strongly about — if you are part of the electorate and did not participate then your opinion does not matter either way.

Rock the Vote has been instrumental in getting people involved in the process through registration and awareness. A key program was getting the National Voter Registration Reform Act passed. The Motor Voter Bill as it was more commonly known, made it possible for people to register to vote while securing a license to drive an automobile. Finally passed and signed into law in 1993, the Motor Voter Bill and its momentum saw the number of voters between the ages of 18 and 24 dramatically increase. This development made certain factions of our political system quite cranky and Boy Howdy, did they take notice. In the ten years since the drive started, Rock the Vote has helped to reverse an alarming trend of apathy, but there seems to be a long way to go. Visit the site and see what issues are affecting us and even register to vote if you haven't already done so.  (Back to top of page)

Site du Jour of the Day episodes will resume in 1999


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Copyright 1998 Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
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Updated  December 21, 1998

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