Their Mission

To provide Twin Citians the information they need to connect to the Internet and make the most of their time online.

Who They Are

The Twin Cities' only free printed (and online) monthly magazine devoted exclusively to the Internet and how it relates to the Twin Cities.

What They Offer

- Easy-to-read articles on everything Twin Citians need to know to make the Internet work for them.

- Cover stories highlighting Twin Cities Web Sites and what they offer.

- A comprehensive print directory of valuable Twin Cities Web Sites with an online counterpart.

- A forum for Internet users to discuss their favorite sites and Internet needs.

- Promotional programs designed to gain exposure to Twin Cities businesses doing business for and on the Web.

- Easy access through distribution points at Twin Cities computer retail outlets, libraries, bookstores, schools, coffee shops, health clubs and other establishments.

- And much more...

TCIG&D is published by KMAC Publications on a monthly basis.  Its print edition is distributed free at selected retail and community sites throughout the Twin Cities. Its online edition gives you easy access to the information published each month.

TCIG&D takes no responsibilities for the contents of Web sites listed within this publication and provides them only as a convenience for its readership.

Connection Directions

Not connected yet? Perhaps you're cruising the web from work or school and want info about getting "wired" at home. After cruising through our site, you’ll find the Internet has a lot to offer so don’t miss another minute of the action. Connect today, it’s easy to do, just follow these six simple steps : TCIG&D’s Six Simple Steps To Connect:

1. Determine whether your computer is Internet ready. 

2. Set up an account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). 

3. Install the browser software that you get from your ISP. If you go through a Commercial Online Service they will supply you with their own browser software. But if you go through an Independent Service Provider you will need to get Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer or another browser software either through the ISP or from another source. All Browser Software can be downloaded free off the Internet or be purchased at a computer retail outlet. Microsoft Internet Explorer comes with Windows 95.

4. Follow the directions of the ISP and browser software to set up the program on your computer.

5. Connect to the Internet by opening the Browser. (Double click on its Icon). 

6. Surf to your heart’s content. Don’t forget to bookmark www.tcigd.com for easy access to the sites listed in the publication and on our site.

A flat monthly fee is usually cheaper than an hourly fee structure. Check for set up fees, and accepted method of payment. Some ISPs only allow you to pay by credit card.

What speed can you connect at? To get the best performance out of your modem you should have the ISP's rate of connection equal or exceed your modem's speed. You should not settle for anything less than 28.8K.

Does the ISP support PPP or just SLIP protocols? PPP makes for a faster connection than SLIP. What's the user/modem ratio? Too many users per modem will give you busy signals when you connect and you won't be able to surf when you want. Use a provider that has less than 10 users per modem.

What are their support options? Twenty-four hour support, PC/Macintosh support. Will they be able to give you the answers you need when you need them.

Does the ISP supply you with the software you need? What features are included? Full access includes Internet connection, email, web page options, newsgroup access. 





What's on the Web?

Take a walk through any neighborhood this summer, and you're bound to find people painstakingly pruning hedges or carefully watering lawns. Landscapers can find great information on the Web. 

Landscaping is a great way to express your individuality. The University of Minnesota has a site dedicated to providing landscape tips for working with plants native to the state. The Minnesota State Horticultural Society offers expert articles about how to coax the greatest yield from our unforgiving climate. And local favorite Rebecca Kolls adds her suggestions for beautifying your lawn and garden. 

All of these sites allow you to spruce up your knowledge base before getting those hands dirty. 

Landscaping Tips
The University of Minnesota Extension Service developed the Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series to share information on creating a sustainable landscape. 

Right now, "sustainability" is a buzz word in landscaping, agriculture and business, as people become more concerned about the environment. The University home page defines sustainable landscape practices as those that improve the environment while conserving resources and reducing chemical applications (which also reduces labor). 

The site aims to inform members of the horticulture and landscape industry, as well as the public, with very in-depth articles on proper design and implementation. 

The site's four main sections lead you from designing your project through plant selection, and finally to implementation and maintenance. The Design section walks you through all the steps in designing a sustainable landscape, such as taking a site survey (a process of collecting information about the space to be landscaped), and using principles of design. Pictures illustrate both positive and negative characteristics of a site. The section is filled with drawings to show each piece of the design process, all the way through to the plan view drawing-the completed landscape design. 

The Plant Selection section includes only those native plants adapted to our climate. You can search by a number of different categories to find trees, flowers and shrubs to fill out your design plan. After selecting the Plant Selection search button, use the pull-down menu to search for the plant characteristics you are looking for: plant type, seasonal interest, flower color, height, light and more. 

Among other things, the Implementation section reports on how to care for soils, build boulder walls and install pavers, all with drawings and/or pictures to visually help with the construction process. Under Maintenance, much of the information pertains to lawn care, but also features a page on selecting fertilizers and understanding their labels. The site even has a glossary to explain such things as a base map or easement or entry garden, and all the design principles mentioned in the design section. 

Horticulture Haven
Another local site directed towards the Minnesota gardener and landscaper is the site for the Minnesota State Horticultural Society. Founded in 1866, this organization is the largest state horticultural society in the United States. A few articles from the Northern Gardener, the magazine published by the Society, can be read online here, including the history of growing grapes in Minnesota. 

This site is all about creating a community of gardening enthusiasts. You can look up future landscaping and gardening classes and events, and find volunteer opportunities for using your gardening skills.On the regional network page, you can find garden clubs that meet in your area. 

There are also several good landscaping sites that aren't necessarily based in Minnesota. At the Home and Garden Showplace you can look up plants by characteristics using the Plant Guide and purchase them online. If you have a gardening or landscape question, e-mail the expert online resource, culled from the members of the National Garden Association. A response should reach you within 48 hours. Someone else may have the same questions you do, so you might want to search the library of over 12,000 questions already answered by the experts. If you type in a keyword, like shade, the resulting response is nicely arranged by titles to help you find the answer to your question. 

This site also lets you have some fun with your hobby. In the Perennial Shop, you'll find information on how to build a free web site, enter contests, sign up for free webmail to get connected with other online gardening enthusiasts, and download a flower-filled screensaver. During my visit, I sent an e-card decorated with yellow sedum to a friend in California, telling her how my tulips were faring. 

Here, experts offer advice for beautifying the pool area, such as placing containers of plants where they will cast a reflection on the water. This will add drama and eliminate the "flat" appearance clear, calm water sometimes creates. 

Family Gardening offers scores of landscaping pages with tips. Among the steps suggested here are ways to implement a Xeriscape approach to landscaping. 

Xeriscape is a new trend that is particularly popular in the desert Southwest because it reduces the need for water consumption. More than 50 percent of the average American home's water consumption is devoted to landscaping, but Xeriscape slashes this percentage by integrating design (grouping plants with similar watering needs), mulching, and efficient irrigation to reduce landscape maintenance. 

Rebecca's Tips
Many know Rebecca Kolls from her stint on WCCO TV News and her "Rebecca's Garden" television show and magazine. You can get into the how-to articles from the home page: "How-to Build a Tool Rack" and the "Dos and Don'ts for Lush Lawns." Other pages provide information on topics such as Propagating Bushes, which were featured on the show. Checking out the show's transcripts, by scrolling through each show's description or using the keyword search, is a good way to find out more about the topic after you saw the segment on television. 

Under the Garden Planning selection on the home page, you will find options to Design Your Garden and to look up plants in the Plant Encyclopedia. 

Choosing to Design Your Garden brings you to a Plant Finder created by Garden.com that helps you find plants to fit your design needs, and lets you purchase them online. A form format lets you select the plant characteristics most important to you - sun exposure, flower color, moisture tolerance-and you can be as specific or as general as you want. After reading a description of one of the plant matches, the reader can simply click on "add to wheelbarrow" to select the plant for purchase. 

If you instead choose the Plant Encyclopedia, it links you to HomeArts: Plant Encyclopedia, a listing of 1,000 plants, where you can search by name or plant attribute. 

The site also helps you design your own home landscaping with the Landscape Planner. As in the garden planner, also on this site, the tool allows you to choose from predesigned plans with plants, paths and ornaments which you can move around, delete or add to. Or, you can start with a blank slate and add the plants, trees, outdoor furniture or ornaments available from the retail shop. Clicking on any plant placed on the template will bring up that plant's attributes and growing needs. 

In the Community section of this site, you can ask the garden doctor a pressing question about a sick plant or join the gardeners' forum and trade gardening secrets. When you register here, you can keep an online garden notebook with your garden and landscaping designs, and information on the plants you bought or plan to buy. 

Summer is the time to savor life, and gardening and landscaping are great ways to participate in the season. A little time on the Web and a few hours more in the yard can turn you into the creator of your own little paradise.