THE BEST (AND WORST) OF 1999
2 Palm VII So you want wireless Web access right in your pocket? Which gadget are you going to go for--a cell phone with its fiddly little buttons, or a PDA (personal digital assistant) with a neat little stylus and large screen? The best answer this year was the Palm VII, which gives U.S. users a smorgasbord of e-mail, news, sports and stock tickers, all for $9.99 a month. By the way, it's also an organizer.
4 Sim City 3000 More than just a game, this worthy successor to the you-are-the-mayor classic takes world building to a new level. The urban landscapes you can create are so detailed that you can actually see people living in them. And the ability to post cities online (at simcity.com) lets your legacy live on.
5 Quake III Got an axe to grind with your cousin in Chicago? Challenge him to a duel on the Web. The year's hottest PC game lets you get into shooting matches with netizens anywhere, in solo showdowns or gang wars. Creepy characters and realistic backdrops make for a great--if sometimes gory--experience.
6 Everquest Materializing out of thin air like a magic cloak, Sony's 3-D online fantasy world quickly stole the role-playing crown from Ultima Online. Creating virtual Dungeons & Dragons environments is all the rage--Microsoft has since started treading the same turf as Asheron's Call--but Ever-quest's superior software puts it sword and shield above the rest.
7 Google.com With sites such as Yahoo, Infoseek and Excite constantly beefing themselves up into the online equivalent of mega-malls, it's refreshing to find a search engine that does nothing but search. And search well. Google's award-winning, commonsense approach nearly always seems to come up with exactly what you're looking for.
9 Linux November's anti-Microsoft court ruling was the icing on the cake for Linus Torvalds' operating system. Because it is "open source"--anyone can fix bugs in its code--Linux is the least crash-prone system around. That makes it a credible alternative to Windows.
10 The Onion The funniest site on the Internet (theonion.com) shows no sign of losing its satiric edge. Now it has conquered Old Media with the best seller Our Dumb Century. Web migration, it seems, is not a one-way ticket.
AND THE WORST
The Melissa virus: The most pernicious piece of software code yet written by a hacker, Melissa spread through more than 300 corporate networks last April. Her author pleaded guilty to computer theft and other charges, but that hasn't stopped copycat attacks.
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