Netpunk May 2000

Along with the usual assortment of pun krock websites, this month I want to explore a couple of other ways to access the Internet from home without having to buy a computer. You'll still have to throw down some cash, but it is a bit less than the cost of a full-blown system. The thing that these devices have in common is that they allow you to access the net through your TV set.

Actually, I'm only aware of a couple of products that allow you to access the Internet without a computer. The first is WebTV by Microsoft, which will run you about $99 for the basic hardware or $199 for hardware with more features, and then costs about $20 a month to sign up with the WebTV Internet Service. For more info on WebTV, visit .

The other product is the Sega Dreamcast game machine. This $199.00 unit will give you a net connection, and allow you to waste your time playing video games. In addition, you don't have to sign up for a special Internet service, so you can go with a local Internet provider (but it will still cost about $20 a month). You will want to buy a keyboard for the Dreamcast for another $25. You can get info about Dreamcast from .

Sony is supposed to be coming out with the Playstation 2, which will also give you net access, and I'm sure that Nintendo won't be far behind.

If all you want to do is limited e-mail and getting data from the web, then these devices may provide what you need. If, however, you are looking for the ability to see all of the multimedia content available on the net, have the ability to upload and download files, then these won't do it for you. In addition, e-mail and websites are going to appear fuzzier than what you see on a computer screen, and it can be hard to read some items on websites. And, of course, if you need to write a paper (or a column), manipulate images, goof with sound files, or whatever else, then you'd be better off saving your cash and dropping about $600 for a computer and monitor.

Enough about access. Let's move on to the good stuff.

Speaking of Microsoft (as I was above), you really need to visit . While this looks like an official Microsoft site at first glance, it is actually a spoof. Whoever did this site obviously had a good time making fun of Microsoft's monopolistic practices and bug-ridden software.

I have another bunch of online zines for your reading pleasure this month, starting with Zero Magazine. Zero Mag is a free, California Bay area magazine that has their content online. Lots of big name punk covered here, including AFI, The Muffs, Supersuckers, and others. Mostly short, unchallenging interviews, but there are some decent photos, and they did even review the last Your Mother show at Gilman. Check it out at .

I Dunno is a zine I first mentioned in this column a while back. Well, it deserves another mention, because this zine is constantly being updated. In fact, if their "what's new" page is to be believed, they add to it every couple of days. Some of the stuff here is stupid, some is fun, and some is almost thought provoking. Visit I Dunno at .

Speaking of almost thought provoking, the Trash Can Times is "the medium that realizes that life is garbage and treats it accordingly". Not a ton of content here, but there are some record reviews, an opinion or two, and too many pictures of Britney Spears. The TCT is found at

If you prefer your zines on paper, I found a distro with a bunch of small zines. Most of them appear to be of the personal (rather than music) variety, but there may be something at Pander Zine Distro -- .

While New Disorder Records is actually a label, their website is more like a zine than many of the zines I've seen on the web. There is a catalog of the bands on the label, as well as MP3s, but there is also a "Words" section with a ton of good commentary. In addition, New Disorder is now giving away free e-mail. You can get an e-mail address through them, by signing up at their website. Be the Visit at .

After you get your e-mail address, you can fill it up by subscribing to some punk rock mailing lists. Some of these can seriously fill up your box, so if you subscribe you'll need to remember to read your mail on a daily basis. You can find a pretty good list of punk related lists at To find the punk section, point your web browser to .

Okay, so that's all I have time for this month. Remember to e-mail me with your sites at . Oh, and visit my website at because by the time you read this there is a pretty good chance I'll have a punk radio show available for your listening pleasure. I'll finally be able to put my record collection to good use again. And remember, you can always send me mail the old fashioned way at PO Box 8059; Santa Cruz, CA 95061.