So you’ve got your Internet hook-up, your free browser, your free time, and you want to surf. At the click of the aerodynamic rodent in your hand, you check your e-mail, rattle a few notes off to your compadres, check out a link that sounds interesting, and then most likely vamoose, leaving your computer wondering, Quo vadis, beloved user? No, no. It’s not wondering where you’re going, it’s processing binary code, until you shut it down. The thing is a tool, not a pal. And I find that the only way I employ this tool is to communicate with and be entertained by others. Then I’m done, back to reality, having spent 15 minutes or so on epigrammatic communiques and some ephemeral entertainment. But wait a second ... If it’s a tool, then I should be able to save time with it, not waste time goofing off on it. That’s what tools are for, right? Tasks simplified equal less work and more leisure time. Millenia ago the bow and arrow made killing food a less exhausting enterprise. Today the Internet makes killing chores a little easier. You just have to know how to reach who you need to reach. That’s been my problem thus far. The Internet “yellow pages” don’t seem to help. And how can I save time if I don’t know what exactly is out there? And what’s the advantage over using the phone? There are probably a lot of menial tasks that I have to accomplish in my free time that I could take care of on the Web. Like this: Why drive to the DMV if I can surf there and cut out that nasty, mind-numbing waiting in line. But can I do the DMV via the Web? I don’t know. What I need is some guidance, a bit of revelation. Luckily, it’s out there. Memphis is alive on the Web. But how would you ever know the extent to which it is flourishing unless some kind, encyclopedic soul had done the research for you? Someone has. Get yourself to The name says it all. And they all seem to be there. The Webmaster of Memphis Web Sites has compiled a veritable cornucopia of Memphis-related links under such nicely alphabetized headings as Attractions, Automotive, Banking and Money, Buildings and Structures, Business, City Guides, et cetera. See what I mean by guidance? This is what I need. Say I’m shopping for a home. I check out the neighborhood. Looks good. But who knows? Do I need to go door to door and ask, Hey, is this a crime-ridden ‘hood? Nope. Turns out there’s a site where I can check out the crime statistics of any neighborhood in town. So instead of canvassing the streets, I can click around in my underwear with some Fritos and find out the same stuff. I wouldn’t have known the site existed if I hadn’t looked under the Government heading on Memphis Web Sites, which is actually a subsite of, a Memphis-based “family-friendly Web guide” that is still under construction. So if you’re using the binary beast that took over your desk to do little more than chat and goof off, here’s a helpful place to begin if you’d like it to really start earning its keep.

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