Fortunately, there are a handful of programs that you can install to stop this stuff from ever showing up. And even better, quite a few of them are free. Pop-up Stopper (http://www.panicware.com/product_dpps.html) and AdSubtract (http://www.adsubtract.com/se/features.html) are two Windows freebies that block ads. And for Mac Users there's Webwasher (http://www.webwasher.com/), also free for Home use. Check them out and start surfing without all the ads.
Speaking of ads, another utility for Windows called Ad Aware (http://www.lavasoftusa.com) allows you to scan your computer for utilities that spy on you while you're online and report your activity to various software companies for "marketing purposes". This will also kill off some of the annoying ads that you'll find in "adware" programs such as Eudora Light, without changing the functionality of the program. And again, it's free!
But enough of that shit. What I want to focus on this month is CDR trading. Harkening back to the good old days of punk rock pen pals and trading tapes of your favorite albums, this is the same with a new techie twist.
There are a lot of great sites online to grab mp3 files, but getting them pretty much sucks if you don't have a high speed (DSL or the like) Internet connection to pull them down. Fortunately, there are a bunch of folks trading mp3 files on recordable compact discs. There are also folks trading regular CD format discs that they've put on a CDR.
Of course, in order to participate in this, you're gonna need a CD recorder. I took a quick look at prices in a couple of online stores, and you can now get a new CD burner for around $100. You could probably find a used one for a lot less. You can often find the CDR discs for free(!) after rebates, if you keep your eyes open (or better yet, visit http://www.dealnews.com/ on a daily basis and keep your eyes open for deals). I've got a few hundred CDRs lying around that didn't cost me a thing once I got the rebates back.
For information on recording mp3 files from vinyl or CD, see both my February 2001 column (available online at http://www.diehippiedie.com/netpunk/mrrfeb01.html) and the CDR FAQ at http://www.cdrfaq.org/ .
Once you know how to record your music, it's time to start trying to find people willing to trade with. You'll probably find it easier to trade if you have some ultra-rare stuff that everyone wants to get his or her hands on. If the stuff is already readily available, then a serious trader probably already has it.
Some decent sites that feature predominantly punk rock include http://www.cdrtrading.com/ , http://hometown.aol.com/thelampers/ and http://www.geocities.com/virus_50/. You may also find people to trade with at the MP3 Traders Hideout (http://www.mp3th.net/) or via the Trade By Mail MP3 Webring (http://e.webring.com/hub?ring=tradebymailmp3).
The other thing that some CDR traders like to do is include the album cover art with the CDRs they trade. If you have the mp3s but need the cover art, check out punkcoverunited at http://kickme.to/punkcoverunited and see if they have a scan of it. If so, you can download it, print it out, and recreate the original cover on your CD.
That should be just about all you need to get started trading CDRs. Maybe one of these days I'll take some of my rare punk records and burn them to CD and get involved. But I doubt it. I'm too lazy.
For those of you who want to trade punk records the old fashioned way (in other words, you're collector scum), you might try the Revelation record traders board at http://www.revelationrecords.com/swap/ . You might also take a look at CollectorScum.com because they've been promising a trading board. Even if they don't manage to put one up, they have some other interesting content dealing with rare punk rock.
The final site I'd like to mention this month is Punkrockers.com (http://www.punkrockers.com/). They've done a decent (though not fantastic) job of putting together some mp3 and video clips of the best known bands of the early scene in LA, OC, NY, SF, DC, Detroit, and England. There's some good stuff here, if you have a fast connection.
That's gonna take care of it for this month. E-mail me your sites, or
suggestions for something you'd like to see me cover in a future column,
and check out all of my columns online at http://www.diehippiedie.com/netpunk.