You've probably heard a lot about Linux and Unix, but chances are you've never messed around with it because you already know Winblows and don't want to mess up your (or your parents) system by trying to install something you don't know how to use. There is a way, however, you can get your feet wet in the Linux/Unix world without risking your own computer -- free shell providers.
Free shell providers are systems hooked up to the internet that will give you an account on their Unix-based computer and let you use various Unix programs. Often, very little help is given, so a good book on Linux or Unix might be necessary if you decide to check these out.
You'll also need a decent telnet program to visit these sites. While they have web addresses, the only way to log into their system is via telnet. The telnet program that comes with Windows really doesn't cut it, but you can find Token Telnet, an excellent free program at http://www.choung.net/resources/body_AntiqueSoftware.html .
Most of the shell providers will also give you an e-mail address and some will also provide you with webspace. You can also get access to more utilities and programs for a nominal (often one-time) fee.
There is a list of free shell providers at http://www.leftfoot.com/freeshells.html . Of the ones on the list, I've check out http://www.freeshells.org and http://theunixplace.com . I liked thetheunixplace.com so much that I paid for a lifetime membership (25 bucks!) that gives me access to most unix utilities, development environments, the ability to run IRC bots (geek chic), and a 100 MB directory for files, including a web site. You can do a lot with 100MB of space.
Alright, that's all the info you need to get started. Go out and learn something new this month -- Unix.
Now, onto the punk rock. In honor of this being the October issue, I'm going to mention the site for all of you ghoul rockers and wanna-be ghoul-rockers out there -- http://www.deathrock.com/ . Covering the entire death genre, from punk to metal to dark electronic stuff, you'll get a good dose of halloween all-year round at their website.
From West Haven, CT comes Psychotic Reaction (http://www.psychoticreaction.net/). They've put together a decent site, with some mp3s of their stuff, all of their lyrics, photos, reasonably price merchandise, and the like. In other words, the usual band site. However, check it out because these guys have a heavy old-school sound, though sometimes I think their lyrics are a bit silly.
Another band who has been around for almost a decade and has your standard, photo, songs, lyrics, etc website is Pizzle from Indianapolis. One thing that I like a lot about this site, however, is the "Exploits" section, where they have stories about shit that has happened to them at shows. I'd love to see more bands do stuff like this, because it makes for interesting reading. Anyway, check out http://www.pizzle.net/ and find out more.
I mentioned the Spirit of '77 website about a year ago, but since then they've moved and upgraded their tunes from Real Audio to the mp3 format. Spirit of '77 is an archive of tunes from bands from Holland (and that part of Europe) whose records are extremely rare. There is no background info on the groups, but you can get a download a great sounding mp3. Spirit of '77 is hosted at http://www.antidote.nl/77/ .
Speaking of old stuff, there is a relatively new site called PunkFix at http://www.punkfix.com that has a bunch of reprints of interviews from various zines dating back to 1980 or so, as well as some original content. They have a decent looking message board, though it doesn't see much activity, and they are looking for contributors, so this is your chance to be heard (or be lost among the din of all of the other writers on the net... but give it your best shot anyway). It looks like the guys that run this are also collector scum, so there are a few articles focused in that direction.
Finally this month I need to mention the Gearhead Magazine website, if only because their streaming audio "Gearhead Radio" smokes! The site has a news and merch section, but you can't actually read anything from the magazine. That pretty much bites, but the music is worth it, if you have a connection that can handle the stream. Visit Gearhead at http://www.gearheadmagazine.com/ .
Okay, that does it for me. I've actually updated my site, so you
can check out my columns at http://netpunk.diehippiedie.com
or you can e-mail me your site at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That is all.