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Site Seeing

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 3, 2003

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Page Not Found . . . is found

Everybody is familiar with the dreaded 404 error that plagues so many badly maintained Web sites. It's the server's archaic way of telling you that it can't find what you're looking for. Microsoft's Internet Explorer has put a nicer face on these errors. But it's still pretty hard for the average human to understand. So when I stumble on a page like this one, it makes me chuckle. When you first load the address, it really does look like an error -- but hang on for a moment. A couple of entertaining cartoon characters will appear and make fun of everything in sight. Before you know it, you'll be transported to the family-friendly Home Star Runner site. Let your younger kids loose on the simplistic games. They're a riot.

Imagine no eraser

Have you ever tried writing a message on a whiteboard screen with a mouse? It's a giggle. You'll find that out if you fire up this site with your Flash-enabled Web browser. Very simply, you get a white screen where you can doodle. This vision of meeting utopia includes markers that are not dried out and always available, and an eraser that's always there. You can also e-mail your scribblings to a friend if you happen to solve some devilishly difficult business or math problem. It's tons of fun and much better than dozing off in a real meeting room.

Taking it with you

Remember Zip disks? How can a technology that was so hot become so not in such a short time? Of course, the answer is that the ubiquity and low cost of CD-R disks unseated Iomega from the top of the removable storage hill. Most newer computers almost certainly have a CD-R. So the reason for pointing you to this site is one of space. If I could -- literally -- carry a large portion of my data on a credit-card-size device that was really cheap, I'd be wildly interested. That's what StorCard promises. The site is full of marketing speak so strap on your filter and read.

A full bottle in front of me?

A chiastic practitioner sounds like a yoga teacher but is actually one of those annoyingly funny people that come up with hilarious phrases such as "Errol Flynn died on a 70-foot boat with a 17-year-old girl. Walter has always wanted to go that way, but he's going to settle for a 17-footer with a 70-year-old." Thank you, Betsy Maxwell Cronkite, wife of Walter Cronkite, for that one. If that tickles your funny bone, there's oodles more to be found here.

Giving OS X the boot

Serious nerds know why you can't just drag and drop a system folder around in the Mac operating system anymore and make a boot disk. Many of the rest of the Mac-using population has no clue why, has no interest in learning why and is much more concerned with how they're going to recover if their hard disk goes south. Remembering the adage that there are two types of hard drives (ones that have crashed and ones that will), you might want to take a peek at this slightly technical page that shows you how to back things up regularly. If you've got more time than money and the patience to learn something new, it's worth the effort. If you want a quick fix and don't mind flashing some cash, check out a .Mac account or something such as Dantz Retrospect. But please back your data up regularly.

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