Top 10 Austin Web Sites
No one can ignore the strong presence of technology in our city. Drive north on I-35 to take a gander at Mr. Dell's farm, and while you're at it, you may notice the interstate you're driving on is peppered with signs advertising its own Web site, http://www.I-35Austin.com. Our beloved Congress Avenue has become a hotbed of new technology -- with offices for Human Code and Digital Anvil, among others -- and any given workday you can see packs of casually dressed youngsters en route with massive cups of java in hand. But while take-yer-time Austin adjusts to the increasingly visible go-getting Austin, plenty of Austinites are taking our city's spirit elsewhere -- that is, everywhere -- spreading the quirkiness, the humor, the beauty, and the values that make our city unique. There are so many, but here's a short list (in alphabetical order) of some of the most popular of those sites, the ones bringing Austin to the world.
1. Ain't It Cool News (http://www.aint-it-cool-news.com). We are tickled pink to see Harry chatting with "the big one" on Roger Ebert & the Movies, but even if he weren't a TV celeb, Harry Knowles would still be the online king of cool.
2. Austin Free-Net (www.austinfree.net). This is a little bit of a cheat: Austin Free-Net does have a Web site, but what is truly unique about this service is that it actually provides Web sites for people -- that is, it provides access to computers and the Internet and the training to use them. All for free. Nada. Nothing. Zip. As prosperity becomes increasingly tied to online access, Austin Free-Net is becoming more crucial than ever.
3. College Student (www.collegestudent.com). Every student at the University of Texas can agree on one irrefutable truth: Housing's a bitch. So four UT students, no doubt bearing the battle scars of some bad Jester food, created this Web site designed to help college students navigate through big life decisions sans hassle. Now in its fourth year, Collegestudent is now owned by CollegeClub, and together they're making sure no freshman must endure cheesy apartment locators against his consent.
4. DrKoop (http://www.drkoop.com). The perfect antidote for our pill-popping anxieties.
5. Garden (http://www.garden.com). The Garden.com team reminds the world that although the Internet gold rush is all fine and good -- green is beautiful on your lawn, too. 6. Hoover's (http://www.hoovers.com). Bookstop founder Gary Hoover knows you're stuck all day at a desk. And that's why his business-centric Web site brings a world of information to your computer screen.
7. InterneTV (internetv.com). Short films, serials, and even streaming video of local dance company Sharir Dance. Rob Campanell's site just keeps getting better. 8. Living (http://www.living.com). A little-known factoid about Austinites: We got style. This e-commerce site for home furnishings proves there's more to our living rooms than bean bags and bongs.
9. Planet Girl (http://www.planetgirl.com). Sure it's fun, but what's really great about Girl Games' online network is that it answers that all-important question: Does he just like you, or does he, like, like you?
10. Squishy (http://www.pamie.com). She's so unusual (and funny), and that's why when Pam Ribon updates this online journal, thousands worldwide log on.