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Sunday, December 24, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Neighborhood Stops

Tune In To New Sonarchy, A Web Site For Sound

Seattle Times Copy Editor

What would you call people determined that sound should rule? Sonarchists of course, and they've even got their own World Wide Web site here in Seattle.

Called "Sonarchy," the site is a Seattle creation in more ways than one. It's run by the Jack Straw Foundation, whose origins date back to 1962 and Seattle's KRAB-FM, one of the nation's first community radio stations. It uses RealAudio, software developed by Seattle-based Progressive Networks. It's housed at Seattle's Speakeasy Cafe, where staff and users are doing some pretty neat stuff on the Web. And its list of thanks extends to some local Net notables, including former U.S. Rep. Maria Cantwell.

Sonarchy's ultimate goal is a noble one: "to use the power of sound to communicate emotion and experience, create change and build community."

The site includes sections for new features and the foundation's own recording studio, which offers professional, low-cost service.

But the core is Sonic World, where the idea is to explore the world through sound. Listen to birds amid the hum of high-tension wires in Eastern Washington. Or eavesdrop as a tourist in Egypt tries to find the right tour bus.

Best of all, anyone can submit sound files to have them placed in Sonic World.

Drawbacks? The sound quality is not excellent but that should improve with technology. A bigger drawback is that folks who have only text-access to the Web, i.e. not an audiovisual connection, can't appreciate the site.

Sonarchy opened Dec. 13, so don't expect dozens of sound files just yet. But stay tuned. This site should be an interesting one.

http://www.sonarchy.org

New search engine to beat. Digital Equipment Corp. has opened for public testing Altavista, a Web search tool that purports to search 16 million pages and faster than any other Web search tool.

Try Altavista directly or via my favorite route, the Yahoo directory, which lets you link to Altavista and other search engines if it can't find what you're looking for on Yahoo.

http://www.altavista.digital.com

http://www.yahoo.com

Christmas stories. If you haven't burned out on Santa sites already, try "Christmas Around the World," which showcases works by professional photographers. Sponsored by Kodak, the site includes a "newsroom" where you can read about photographers' assignments.

http://www.christmas95.com

Utility bills too high? Care about phone, electricity and/or natural gas rates? If so, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, which regulates the companies providing those services, has a Web site for you. It includes a regulatory update and testimony from a recent US West hearing.

http://www.washington.edu/wutc

All things aviation. Michael Brunk has put together a neat local Web site with loads about aircraft - from images to aviation poetry to an "Unofficial Seattle Museum of Flight" section. You can also link to "Heavy Metal," its sister site on land warfare.

http://www.cyberspace.com/ mbrunk/aviation.html

Jelly music. Some Seattle music lovers have created Jelly, a print and Web publication devoted to "enjoyable but not disposable" classic American sounds.

http://www.jellyroll.com

Animal shelters. Reader Nick Dallett notes that animal shelters are starting to go online, including one he helped onto the Web - Jefferson County Animal Services in Port Townsend - where you'll find lists of pets lost, pets found, pets wanted and pets needing homes.

http://www.daka.com/jcasa/ jcasa.htm

If you've found interesting spots on the Internet or elsewhere in the electronic world, tell us about them via e-mail at: mlla-new@seatimes.com

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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