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What to surf

The best websites of the week for December 1st, 2000

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NEW! O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE
(studio.go.com/movies/obrother)
Niftily designed to look like an old-time radio, the official site for the Coen Brothers’ latest film lets you channel surf between long interviews with the filmmakers and samples from the foot-tapping, bluegrass-tinged soundtrack. In between, stop to watch the trailer or flip through the virtual photo album, which features sepia-toned shots of O Brother‘s sweaty star, George Clooney. B
Ann Limpert

NEW! QUEER AS FOLK
(showtime online.com/queer)
The already-controversial yet-to-be-aired series — Naked gay boys! Lesbian mommies! All in a Pittsburgh setting! — is served well by this classy site. Gather info on nationwide viewing parties, learn about the characters, and send your more liberal friends frisky e-cards with such large-type proclamations as ”hung,” ”bottom,” and ”disco whore.” Like many of the show’s fetching denizens, it teases with a mere preview of what’s to come: Showtime unveils the full monty Dec. 3. That said, the site accomplishes what teases do best — it brings you back for more. A-
Nicholas Fonseca

BATANGA INTERNET RADIO
(batanga.com)
The term alternative may send rockers running, but fans seeking refuge from mainstream radio’s idea of Latin music will bolt for Batanga. This one-year-old bilingual (hint: click ”English” in the top right corner) radio site dares anyone who has uttered the phrase ”Latin explosion” to experience its 24-hour stream of vibrant, eclectic music. Twelve stations ranging from Rock and Merengue to Indie, Hip-hop, and Dance/Techno — plus interview shows, chats, and news — make it the perfect cure for Ricky Martin-itis. A-
Caryn Ganz

THE PUBLIC 8 BALL
(8ball.fed erated.com)
Hardware-handy Jim Studt took one look at the many Magic 8 Ball prognostication simulations taking up space on the Web and laughed long and hard. Then he took matters into his own hands and created a computer-controlled dream machine using the ultimate tool: LEGO MindStorms. His contraption shakes an honest-to-goodness Magic 8 Ball in response to Internet inquiries, records its answers with a camera, and beams them back to the user. Is there a better retro e-toy out there? A
Erin Podolsky
MUST-VISIT: 8ball.federated.com/how.html
Studt explains in excruciating geek-tail precisely how his invention works.