Picks and Pans Main: Bytes

updated 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

A THINKING PERSON'S WEB SITE

When David Talbot launched the Web magazine Salon in November 1995, he knew the Net appealed mainly, as he says, to "boys with their toys." But the former San Francisco Examiner editor had a different audience in mind: adults with brains. The result, a literate but decidedly not stuffy mix of interviews, lifestyle features and cultural commentary, hit its mark. Named TIME'S Best Web Site of 1996, the site (www.salonmagazine.com) draws more than 3.5 million page views a month. Salon's contributors have included politico James Carville and feminist critic Camille Paglia (both regular columnists) and bestselling authors such as Peter Mayle and John le Carré. "We've created a popular magazine," says Talbot, 46, "that treats books and authors seriously."

In May the Webzine started a daily feature for another underserved audience: moms. Writer Camille Peri, 43, Talbot's wife, heads up the section, dubbed Mothers Who Think. Articles have ranged from an interview with an abortion doctor to senior editor Kate Moses's crush on TV's Bill Nye, the Science Guy. "Magazines for parents talk down to mothers," says Peri, 43, who has two young sons. "We see women as more multidimensional."

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Godzilla is on the prowl again, making his way to movie theaters next May. If you can't wait for the full-length flick, the beast's Web site (www.godzilla.com) is already up—as are sites promoting next April's Lost in Space (www.dangerwillrobinson.com) and 1999's Star Wars prequel (www.starwars.com). What's the rush? "The real nature of an epic site like Lost in Space is to embrace the true fans and the core user," says Gordon Paddison, manager of interactive marketing at New Line Cinema. Godzilla producer Dean Devlin understands geek appeal—he relied on Net buzz to help boost Independence Day and Stargate. Godzilla.com drew a million hits (mostly to view the tantalizing trailer) in four days after being launched July 2. A database with info and images from Godzilla's previous film incarnations will be added next month. The revamped monster himself, alas, is under wraps until opening night. "It's hard to keep a lid on it, but that's our plan," Devlin says. The Star Wars site, meanwhile, addresses casting rumors and reveals that shoots are planned for Tunisia and Naples. And Lost in Space is racking up visits from the '60s TV show's far-flung fans in Australia, Japan and Scandinavia. Who knew?

THE GURU IS IN

What's your dosha? If you don't know, don't try to make cocktail banter with Demi Moore or George Harrison, both devotees of Deepak Chopra. The bestselling health guru's CD-ROM The Wisdom Within introduces users to his spirit-meets-science teachings. Start off with a quiz to determine your dosha—it's your personality type in Indian traditional medicine. The disc then tailors an appropriate regimen of nutrition, exercise and meditation. Heck, just reading about such New Age fads as aromatherapy and sun salutation is strangely soothing.

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