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It seems to me that the internet has been getting a lot of bad press recently. Such things as, "Evil band of hackers invades Yahoo!, demands release of compadre," or "Those crazies on the net think the Mars probe is a fake!" Now, though these headlines will generate some reader interest, it's not really telling of the goodness the net has to explore! Hopefully I can help a few people explore the many riches the internet has to offer!

First of all you probably wonder, "What really is on the web? Probably nothing of interest to me." Maybe think about changing your mind. I'm sure you've seen the internet before in small chunks, and said, "Boy, all there is on there is dirty pictures and a bunch of stupid, pointless websites." In reality, there's a wealth of info on the web!

Now, as you read these next few words, I'm connecting with the web. There! With the wonders of the written word, I'm already on the web and at Excite's web page! Excite, http://www.excite.com, is a search engine, which searches the whole internet to find a document that's fitting to the words you typed in. Now, to show everyone that you really can find almost anything on the web, I'll type in the words 'tomatoes of Russia.' Sounds like a Danielle Steel novel to me.

So now that I've told it what to search for, another screen popped up quickly that gave me a listing of ten different sites that were related to 'tomatoes of Russia.' Surprisingly, nothing with Boris Yeltsin popped up! The sites that were listed on this first page included a company that ships tomatoes to Russia, a Russian town named Grimm, and even something close to home in the form of a web page from NDSU! It was from the University's Germans from Russia library; it listed ways Russians farmed, among other things.

Once I was done with that, something I saw earlier on the web stuck out in my mind. It said 'Win $4500!' Being a sucker for contests (never mind that little article I wrote earlier!) , so I went back and clicked on the banner. All I had to do was type in my e-mail address, fill out a little form, and I was entered! A lot less painful than licking little stamps that taste like donkey liver au graten, and I didn't even have to walk over to the mailbox! It even said in big letters as soon as I got there, "Enter up to 20 times each day!" I have no arguments with that!

So, you may be thinking, "Oh wow, now my day has been spared from licking donkey liver-flavored stamps. This internet might be pretty factual, but I can get all that at the library! What else is on?" I snatched the words right from your mouth, didn't I? Not really, but here I'll talk about some of the more entertaining places on the web.

First I'm going to jump around and get my daily dose of news. No, not world news, but little tidbits of info I find necessary. First I jump to N64.com, which is at http://www.n64.com. It's a web site totally dedicated to the Nintendo 64 video game system. It's updated daily so, being I haven't been there in a day or two, I look at the latest news articles. But what to my wondering eyes do appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer! Then I figure I've been on the computer too long, so I go and rest my eyes a little while, by staring zombified at the TV, wishing my mouse were with me the whole time.

I come back to the computer a bit later and point my browser to a news group. A news group is like a big bulletin board where people leave messages for others to read and respond to. I went to comp.sys.mac.hypercard, which is a news group dedicated to Hypercard, a computer program that let's you make anything from business

presentations to all-out video games. One famous game made on Hypercard was MYST, for people familiar with the game. As I'm there, I find out I still don't have an answer to a question I posted, so I figure it's time to head on out of there.

Next I quit Netscape, my web browser, and load up The Palace chat software. This is the easiest to use chat software out there, in my humble opinion. I load it up, and jump over to FOX Sports. I start talking to a few people about today's football games, and they all say they like the 49ers!

So as the new year rolls in, keep the internet in mind. Maybe 1998 will be the year you get connected with the world!

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Karl Becker, the author of all these articles, uses New Tricks for his writings.

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