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Valentine's Day Web sites make the heart -- and mouse -- go flutter

Feb. 11, 1996


With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it's only to be expected that hearts (and computers) turn to thoughts (downloads?) of love and romance.

The World-Wide Web is still the fastest growing portion of the Internet, and one of those reasons is commerce Ï businesses around the country (and world) are rushing to get themselves or their products on the Internet.

So for Valentine's Day, the Web has a wide range of gifts, from the sentimental to the weird and wacky Ï all just mouse click away.

GIFTS. For fun, you can visit the Valentines Day Game home page.

Answer questions on love and romantic themes correctly, and you "win a poem by a famous dead poet." The better the score the better the poem that you can send to your Valentine.

ROMANCE. A more useful site for the true romantic is Sugarplums, a site devoted to romance.

Sugarplums combines two themes really, romance and food. Plan a romantic dinner for your significant other; recipes for amorous delights, as well as a special breakfast plan for Feb. 14. You can find advice on proper kissing techniques, how to properly massage that special someone, or delve into the history of St. Valentine.

HIGH-TECH. My favorite Valentine's gift idea is the Personalized Valentine's Web Page. Forget the usual flowers and candy, try something really different!

This Web site allows you to create a Web page devoted to that special cybersomeone in your life. You chose some artwork, decide on the background color or graphic, and fill out a form for your "Sweet Nothings" for your cybersweetie.

The URL for the gift page can be kept private, or you can go public with your love and affection.

It's certainly the most unusual gift you can give your loved one for $9.95.

EARTHWISE. One of the most offbeat Valentine Web sites is ValenPine, where you can show your significant other your love for them and your concern for the Earth.

For $14, you can give your loved one a pine seedling. A personalized card announces your gift, and the tree arrives in time for planting in the spring. And as explained in the Web site, trees are great gifts because "they don't rot your teeth," as well as the obvious benefits from adding trees to our environment. And yes, the card is on recycled paper.

TELECOM PROTESTS. If you were on the World-Wide Web Thursday or Friday, you may have noticed that some of the Web sites you visited had changed to a black background.

Search engine Yahoo! and other sites around the Web did so to protest the signing of the Communications Decency Act portion of the Telecommunications Reform Bill that was approved by Congress Feb. 1, and signed into law by President Clinton on Thursday.

Under the terms of the legislation, anyone who transmits, posts or distributes indecent material on the Internet may be punished with a $250,000 fine and a prison term of up to two years.

Fears are, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that on-line services will be forced to censor public and private messages to insure they avoid violations of the new law.

Ira Glasser, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in an EFF press release that ``This law restructures the entire telecommunications industry and places the free speech and privacy rights of all Internet users in permanent jeopardy. For a Congress that says it wants to get big government out of people's lives, this law represents the most extreme hypocrisy.''

According to information at the EFF's Web site, they and the ACLU plan to file lawsuits challenging the indecency portion of the law. The EFF states that personal and parental choice ``is the best filtering mechanism of content on the Internet. The development of technological filtering tools and children's services will go much further to promote the safety of children and free speech than any legislation.''

NETSCAPE 2.0 GOES GOLD. Netscape's newest browser software, Navigator 2.0, was officially released this week, ending what seemed to be months of beta version tests on the Internet.

The browser can be downloaded from the company's Web site, and is available for Windows 3.1/95/NT and the Macintosh.

Besides improvements in the browser's newsgroup feature, it also serves as an e-mail interface and supports the use of Java and can be configured for RealAudio and other applications.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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