Sites That Play Movies, Music and Entertainment

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Everyone needs a daily dusting-off from the edges of the work-a-day world. Most of us do this by going to a movie, enjoying humor, music, books and magazines, sports, or playing games. Everyone has his or her preferred method of entertainment, and some extension of these favorites can be found on the Internet.

When fun, games, and the Web come together, it's an especially exciting time. Many analysts suggest that the Web is moving in the direction of merging the many forms of in-home entertainment enjoyed today. When bandwidth problems are solved, and technologies such as cable TV and new media converge, the world will know new levels of interactive pleasure.

A great example of this movement toward convergence, but with respect toward today's bandwidth limitations, can be found at the 40K Miracle site. Dedicated to creating great animation and games that all come in under 40 kilobytes, this site is well designed, superbly interactive, and very entertaining. Because the enjoyment of this site requires that you enjoy indulging in it yourself, I'm going to focus primarily on a more general issue—how to be sure people get to your site!

Next up is the Film Vault, a humorous and well-designed site for film buffs. Film Vault offers up capsule reviews, extended reviews, and a very nice search function where visitors can decide whether to view film information by genre, director, or date. Using tables for design layout, which is becoming commonplace, is examined, with a helpful guide to various table elements and what they do.

ActiveX is Microsoft's exciting addition to Web technologies, and I'll offer a little information as to what it is, the types of applications it is used for, and where to get more information on how to develop ActiveX functions for the Web. Quantum Chess is an excellent example of ActiveX; I'll use this Internet-based game environment by BR Labs as the jumping-off place for the ActiveX discussion.

A very entertaining magazine for "next generation" users is T@P Online. Offering coverage in literature, music, style, and sports, this is a sassy and fun e-zine that provides hours of enjoyment for visitors. I'll examine the <br> tag, as well as the HTML 3.0+ additions to it that have made it an extremely powerful and functional HTML element.

A little humor is always in order, and that is sure to be found on Max Cannon's Red Meat site. The macabre cartoon is becoming one of the world's most popular, with translations being offered as far away as the Czech Republic! The balance between visual design and content is an important conceptual lesson, and I'll offer some points to ponder when discussing Cannon's humorous offering.

GRP Recording, a subsidiary of MCA/Universal, has a stunningly well-designed Web site dedicated to the Jazz and Blues artists represented under its labels. Proximity is an important design concept that will be examined in this overview. Then I'll jump back into film, and look closely at the Sundance Channel's site, where the clever use of typography has been aided by the HTML <tt> tag. Sports enthusiasts are sure to enjoy Sportsline, a very extensive site with all there is to see, do, play, and read about in the sports world. Here, I'll examine character entities and how to apply them to effectively communicate various symbols, signs, and special characters most often required by Web designers.

Paramount has a visually attractive Web site that offers a very fine example of graphic proportion. And, if you haven't had enough of film, I'll give you one more site to enjoy. A fan of director Martin Scorsese has created a very interesting set of pages, well designed and highly functional, and with the most impressive treatment of a hit counter that I've ever seen. I'll discuss the problems with hit counters, and show that if you have to have them, the way the Scorsese site has used it is at least attractive.

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