if nothing else, the surreal side-show that the U.S. presidential election has become has legitimized the Internet as a viable and occasionally trustworthy news outlet.With the stories of recounts and ballot boxes found in swamps getting more Twilight Zone-ish by the second, online news sources like inside.com, slate.com and salon.com, as well as the Web divisions of ABC News and the New York Times, offer instant updates and quick commentaries on the chaos of the day.
Servers have slowed to a crawl as people try to follow the increasingly peculiar soap opera.
The official news organizations are not the only places online to get election results. Every unofficial pundit with half an opinion and a Web page is adding his or her take on the fiasco. While the world waits for America to make up its mind, here's what the Web is saying.
The home of the Florida state department's elections division. Tellingly, this site has not been updated since the day after the election. Perhaps they're too busy recounting.
http://geocities.com/countercoup/This activist site is passing the time between presidents by whipping up a mass e-mail-based petition and coordinating street rallies demanding new elections in Florida.
www.gwbush.com/Not the guvnor's official site. Here, you get a handy pie chart mocking the Florida vote and Bush's claim that he won fair and square, as well as regular features like the Bush Bourbon Watch -- "clean since 92" -- and the Slim Cheney Dance.
Gore fares no better. Changing directions from its usual focus on Gore tall tales, this site features rough but funny fake protest signs whining about the ballot confusion and dim views on the folks who got lost in the polling booth.
Porn and free music aside, perhaps nothing cranks Internet loners up quite like an old-fashioned conspiracy, or at least the whiff of one. Here, voting chaos is tied into the nefarious workings of the "Bush crime family," with little or no proof but plenty of conviction.
www.granma.cuForeign news outlets have been treating the hysteria like comedy in a can. Never one to miss an opportunity for taking a shot at the Yanks, Cuban state paper Granma has been following the elections with a keen eye, suggesting that Miami exiles had something to do with the chaos and howling at the fact that while there is no new president, a dead man is now a senator.
As usual, the final word in news commentary should go to the Onion, which avoided the post-election embarrassments of most other real newspapers by printing a hilariously vague article on the winning parties.
firstname.lastname@example.org/The American people might not be able to pick a president, but they can vote to decide whether someone is attractive or not. Here, vain surfers send in photos of themselves and then are voted on by viewers, on a scale of one to 10. There's nothing nasty or offensive, but it is very funny I want my MP3
With Napster here to stay, ultimately as a paying site, you'll eventually need something to play all those MP3 files while you're on the go. Lugging around your hard drive, even if you've got an eight-inch Apple Cube, isn't really an option. Here are three portable MP3 players that will make on-the-go digital music a lot lighter.NOMAD JUKEBOX $749 www.creative.comIt looks like a CD Walkman, but the Nomad Jukebox is actually a portable hard drive. With 6 gigabytes of memory, it's able to store over 100 hours of music or up to 2,600 hours of spoken word, more than 10 times the usual amount. The ultimate in mobile digital music, with a suitably shocking price tag.CASIO MP3 AUDIO WRIST WATCH $350 www.casio.comWell, at least it looks futuristic. Casio's MP3-playing watch is bulky, but it's about as portable as mobile players get. With only 30 minutes of music storage, though, it's more an example of fashion than function. By the way, it also tells the time.
IOMEGA HIPZIP $350 www.iomega.comMade by the folks behind the amazing zip drive, Iomega's Hipzip player doubles as a portable storage drive. Miniature PocketZip disks store up to 80 minutes of digital music as well as photos and documents, and the disks pop out of the machine like CD-ROMs, which means you can trade with friends.ELECTION SIDESHOW MAKES NET NEWS LEGIT