The enormous size of the World Wide Web is difficult to grasp. We got a glimpse this week when we tried to select sites to be honored for Web excellence from the tiny corner of the Web in San Luis Obispo County.
Since our own Web site made its debut, just the past six months, a stunning number of new businesses, groups, and individuals have posted sites. A search for the phrase "San Luis Obispo" alone on the Alta Vista search engine revealed more than 40,000 hits.
We haven't visited every one. Still, what you'll find below is a good sample of what's best in the local Web world. Each has been selected for excelling in a particular area-design, information, etc.
Web Excellence in Restaurant Promotion
SLO Brew (www.slobrew.com)
Mike Hoffman's popular microbrews have won lots of awards of late, and his Web site is worthy as well. The biggest problem with most business pages is that they are simply brochures placed online. SLO Brew has a site that uses the technology well and keeps changing to keep you coming back. There's a monthly contest, a list of beer games, beer reviews, band information, even a page discussing the historic Hanna Building where the brewery is located.
The page's wallpaper is, appropriately enough, brick. It's easy to read and navigate.
Web Excellence in Education
Lil McCumsey's Third Grade Class (www.etropolis.com/mccums/)
Certainly many classes have now toyed with the Web, but few have succeeded in mixing the fun of computers and education the way that Lil McCumsey's youngsters in Room 8 of Santa Margarita Elementary School have.
The page is designed to look like a grammar school notebook. Very visually appealing. It opens with a shot of the whole class, a description of the school, and links to kids interest sites, and then gives a page to every kid in the class. After you're done you'll want to adopt the lot of them, and you'll wish that you had Ms. McCumsey as a teacher.
Web Excellence in Nudity
Exclusive Review (etropolis.com/exrevue/)
Let's face it. Most websurfers are looking for smut. With all the talk about building an information superhighway and creating a global community, dirty pictures get most of the hits. One of the only risqué sites locally is from stripper service Exclusive Revue, and it's surprisingly well-designed.
The strippers get individual pages so you can learn a little more about them and see a lot more of them. But you'd expect that. You might expect to be able to download audio clips of the sexy-talking women, videos you can purchase online, and unspecified special request offers. The site is equipped with two warning pages and subscribes to Nanny Watch-type services in an attempt to keep young eyes away.
New Times staffers Richard Jackoway, Stephen Jones, and Jeff McMahon contributed to this report.