One interesting thing about these rebates, though. In California and Oregon, Microsoft misinterpreted a state law and didn't put the 3-year requirement on the rebate. The contract you signed with them said you were signing up for 3 years, but there was no penalty for canceling early. The San Jose newspaper printed a story about that, and Californians went wild giving Microsoft the shaft. Probably cost them thousands of dollars, not like they couldn't afford it. They cancelled the rebate promotion almost immediately. Consumer frenzy at its finest.
I've gotten e-mail from several people recently saying that I should mention the Linux operating system. Linux is an open-source, freeware operating system that is basically a flavor of Unix. There are versions that run on both PCs and Macs, and it basically takes the place of Windows or your Mac OS. The best thing about it is that it is basically free. The worst thing is that you have to be pretty geeky to get it set up.
Linux is as easy to use as Windows or Mac (some would argue it is easier). The hard part is getting it up and running. And, you won't find as many programs for Linux as you will for Win or Mac, though there is probably at least one program for any task that you'd want to do. Most Linux users would probably take issue with some of these statements, but they are geeks with an interest and understanding of computers. If you don't aspire to be a geek, then, at least at this point, Linux probably isn't for you. (FYI, I run RedHat 6.1 on an old Pentium 133. It works pretty well).
Unlike the MacIntosh or Windows platforms, Linux isn't owned by anyone and doesn't come in just one version. There are a lot of companies out there packaging Linux with their own special touches. Some of these companies basically give the software away, while others charge a couple of hundred bucks. Some have even tweaked the software to look a lot like the Windows 98 interface.
If it sounds interesting, then jump right in, though I wouldn't recommend fucking up Mom or Dad's computer trying to install it. You'll find more information on Linux at http://www.linux.org/ . After you do your research at linux.org and decide which version is best for your, check out CheapBytes at http://www.cheapbytes.com/ . They sell copies of different Linux versions for about 5 bucks each. Good luck, and if you screw up your system, don't call me.
Enough geek stuff. What about the punk? I have a handful of cool sites for you this month, but before we get to that, you should really go visit http://www.aprilfools.com/ . It's fun for the whole family!
Blank Generation is one of the coolest punk websites I've been to in quite awhile. They appear to keep it updated, it has lots of original content, and it is designed in an easy to use manner. They have reviews, a history section, interviews, columns, and more, all focused on rocking punk. Check it out at http://www.blankgeneration.com/ .
Speaking of rocking punk, the Portland, Oregon band All Out has decent website. Not enough to read here, and not enough photos, but they do have half a dozen songs in MP3 format, as well as lyrics. It's worth a visit to the site for the songs, because the couple that I downloaded were good enough to make me want to find their album. Visit them at http://www.alloutweb.com/ .
Another good band site is that of Not Born to Participate, a Dutch hardcore/emo band. They have lyrics, photos, song samples and reviews. They only had 3 songs up, however, and I wish they'd had more. Still, worth checking out at http://listen.to/nbp .
From Spain, Generator appears to be a nice distro site, with quite a few albums and zines. Written entirely in Spanish, I'm sort of lost here, but you might find it worthwhile. Oh, and for collector scum, they appear to have a want/trade list as well. Visit it at http://www.arrakis.es/~hcxpain/ and brush up on your espanol.
I was surfing around mp3.com the other week, and ran across a link to the Alan Milman Sect website at http://members.tripod.com/DKhazzam/ManKazaM.html . This is actually run by Doug Khazzam of the Alan Milman Sect and ManKazaM. (Punk rock history lesson - the Sect formed in NY in 1977 and released the classic Stitches in My Head EP soon thereafter). Visit the site just to link through to their songs at mp3.com.
I got e-mail from Josh of Major Disappointment webzine (http://www.angelfire.com/punk/MajorDis/) asking me to check out his site. While it probably isn't worth visiting, as he only has something like 3 paragraphs up here, there was one sentence on rap music that I just had to share. According to the site, rap is "just people talking really fast and explaining things we already know". That cracks me up.
Finally, just because I know how much the members hate it when I do this, I want to mention the punk-list again. The punk-list is a mailing list for punk rockers, where you get a hundred messages a day, most of which have nothing to do with punk. If you want your mailbox flooded with stuff from a bunch of opinionated punk geeks, then subscribe by sending mail to email@example.com with the words subscribe punk-list in the body of your email message. Don't tell them I sent ya.
Okay, to wrap things up, I have a couple of not-exactly-punk sites that you may want to visit anyway. First is GuitarGeeks at http://guitargeek.com/ . This site talks about the guitar setups of your favorite guitarists, including quite a few punk ones. They also have gadget lists, a sound archive, and more. Truly for geek guitarists.
And, to wrap things up, it's a site dedicated to every hockey fans favorite haircut, The Mullet. Yep, http://www.mulletsgalore.com/ is a cornucopia of information of this short on top, long in the back hair-(non)style. Including terminology, a picture gallery, and more, my only problem with this site is that he mis-classifies long-haired hippies as being mulletheads, when really all they need is a haircut. Oh well.
That's it for this month. I'm outta time. Visit me on the web at http://www.diehippiedie.com/netpunk
or send me e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, as always, you can send me paper mail at PO Box 8059; Santa Cruz,
CA 95060. See ya.