NET CAFE, from A to G (1996) Stewart Cheifet

Net Cafe: Grim Reaper Web Sites (7/21/00)

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Video Description

Grim Reaper Web Sites (7/21/00)

Strange, but one of the most popular topics on the Web is death. You can check out the gravesites and tombstones of famous people, look at your own mortality clock, shop at the L.A. Coroner's Gift Shop, explore the Heaven's Gate suicide plans, or commune with the memory of Timothy Leary. Originally broadcast in 2000.

Keywords: Episodes: 2000; grim reaper; death

Contact Information: [email protected]


City Of The Silent

Joel Gazis-Sax sees cemeteries as one of our most valuable windows to the past. He has created a site with a variety of resources about cemeteries. At the heart of his site is the "Post-Mortem" area -- a large and ever-expanding set of links to other, serious-minded, cemetery sites. He also offers tips on visiting graveyards and making rubbings of headstones. There's a glossary of symbols, a mailing list, and an area where you can contribute inscriptions that you have seen. Sites like Joe's offer people doing genealogical research on the Internet not just a route to raw information but an appreciation of graveyards that they may not have had before.

Jerry Garcia's Haight Street Shrines

Joe Melloy, a musician and multimedia producer, is a lifelong Grateful Dead fan who lives near the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco. Joe created a memorial site for Jerry Garcia upon the singer's death in 1995. The site includes digital photographs of the Haight-Ashbury district and the Garcia memorial concert in Golden Gate Park, including a 360-degree picture of the scene. One of the most popular features of the site was a guest book area where people could add their condolences, thoughts, or feelings about Garcia. His site was quickly linked to by hundreds of Deadheads and within a day or two he was getting hundreds of thousands of hits a day. Melloy continues to update the site with Grateful Dead material.


Michele Weaver creates the 3-D world of Tombtown. Originally conceived as an engaging way to make historical biographies interesting to kids, Tombtown has become an general attraction.

Organized into graveyards, Tombtown lets you to take a "fly-though" tour or travel into, above, and around the site you choose. Virtual tombstones include the name of the person memorialized. When the user clicks on a stone, a screen pops up with a photo and details about the person for whom the stone is named. Users can request new tombstones at a cost of $20 each for development time. The site also inlcudes a VR memorial to Princess Diana.

The Well's Popcult Death Pool

Interested in betting on someone else's demise? Join one of the "death pools" on the Internet. A death pool is a game based around guessing when particular famous people are going to die. These games are so popular that they have their own subsection in Yahoo. Players compete for money, gifts, or prestige depending on the pool master. Christian's site, available to members of The Well only, offers a chance to compete with a limited payback.

Virtual Pet Cemetery

Christine, also known as The Housewife, has had a Webcam going for the past six months. Her Website normally receives 10,000 to 15,000 hits a day from people who watch her go through her daily routine. The site offers both streaming video (by subscription only) as well as images from the Webcam. Why does she allow people to peek into her life? Christine says she likes the interaction and visitors being able to see, hear, and chat with her.

Documentary Description

Net Cafe was the world's most widely distributed television series covering the Internet revolution during the height of the dot com boom. The series was broadcast throughout the United States and in more than one hundred other countries for six years, from 1996 through 2002. It was hosted by Stewart Cheifet, Jane Wither, and Andrew deVries.

The weekly program went behind the scenes of the World Wide Web to meet the people and explore the culture of the new "wired" generation. The series featured Internet tips, a guide to the best web sites, a preview of internet startups, and interviews with the movers and shakers behind the Internet phenomenon. It introduced many new web sites to the public which are now household names such as Yahoo!, Google, and eBay.

The series has been recognized for its journalistic excellence, winning a variety of prestigious broadcast awards. It was produced on location at various internet cafes around the Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Stewart's Bio

Stewart Cheifet has been called “the original TV techie” and “the dean of television computer journalists”. He pioneered the field over twenty years ago when he created and launched the award winning public television series “Computer Chronicles”.

He served as host and managing editor of “Computer Chronicles”. He also anchored another public television series devoted to the people, culture and business of the Internet, called “Net Café”. Both series were broadcast nationally and throughout the world in over 100 countries.

Stewart has been a guest commentator on technology for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and he hosted a weekly web-radio talk show called “Talking about this Week”, produced by in association with He also wrote and anchored a syndicated radio series about the Internet, “CyberTraffic Report”.

He has been a commentator, anchor, and emcee at many major technology events including Comdex TV News, the Computer Museum’s Computer Bowl, Discover Magazine’s Technology Awards, Upside’s Showcase, Upside’s Digital Living Room, Windows Magazine’s Win-100 Awards, and the Codie Awards for the Software Publishers Association and the Software Information Industry Association.

He frequently appears as a moderator and speaker at corporate events in the technology field, having worked with such companies as Acer, AutoDesk, Bay Networks, Boeing, Cable & Wireless, Commerce One, Hewlett Packard, IBM, KPMG, NetSuite, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Sybase, and others.

Stewart was formerly a correspondent for the PBS “Nightly Business Report” covering high-tech in the Silicon Valley and the Pacific Rim. He has worked in various capacities for ABC News and CBS News in major locations around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, and Paris. He served as President of PCTV, a company focused on media and technology and was also CEO of WITF, a diversified broadcasting and media company. He was also a Director at the Internet Archive, responsible for all audio and video content.

He has won numerous awards for his broadcast journalism work, including twelve awards from the Computer Press Association (CPA) and the CPA award for Best Individual Technology Television Program of the year. He was named by AdWeek magazine as one of the five most influential broadcast journalists in the field of technology.

Stewart wrote the foreword for the recently released book “Tech Trending”, published by John Wiley & Sons. Has also written for publications such as Windows Magazine, PC Magazine, Silicon Valley Magazine, Apprise Magazine, and Digital Video Magazine.

He is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in mathematics and psychology. He also holds a doctorate in law from Harvard University and he was a Benton Fellow in technology journalism at the University of Chicago.



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