By JULES ALLEN
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 17, 2003
Feel free to browse
Useless yet fun
Yes, it looks like a bunch of useless old product pitches, but it is in fact the latest in cutting-edge technology. If you click into the Lawn and Garden section of this fake online store, cutting edge is quite literal. If you've got Apple's free QuickTime video player installed, you can watch some promotional videos that accompany some products. Save the best for last and try to buy something. The order process is a hoot.
Spiffy spam beater
Here's a good read that will get you up to speed on the current state of spam filtering. It's an article, which originally appeared in the New York Times recently, by tech god James Gleick, founder of pioneer online service Pipeline. He talks a great deal about one of my favorite spam fighting tools, SpamAssassin. If your Internet service provider doesn't (or won't) install this tool, it might be time to find another ISP.
Check with your mom first
Idling computers are being put to all sorts of good use, particularly for health research such as the recently reported effort for researchers working on smallpox and anthrax. But before you donate your computer's spare processing power to a good cause, you might want to make sure you actually own the computer first. The second address is the story of an unlucky fellow by the name of David Owen. It seems his employer wasn't exactly thrilled about him donating spare cycles to the SETI@home project. There's no space for that final frontier in Georgia, it would seem.
Ear for books
Looking at the About page of this site might make you imagine that the site owner would like to sell you a house, a car or maybe some insurance. Judging a book by its cover would be a mistake, though, because Bill Thompson is a man with a passion for books (even if he does look like a sales guy). He has interviewed well- and not-so-well-known authors and placed the streaming audio on this site. If you have Windows Media Player or the Real Audio player installed, you'll be able to listen to these edited interviews and maybe find yourself some new reading material.
Have you ever wanted to see what all this Linux fuss was about but are either too lazy or not technical enough to try it? Or perhaps you're wildly technical and need access to a Linux machine but don't want to buy a new laptop. Enter, stage left, Workspot. It's an impressive technological solution that gives you an honest-to-goodness Unix-like desktop anywhere you've got access to a browser (Java-enabled is better). If you don't have a spare $9.95 a month to run Workspot, you might want to wander over to the next meeting of the local Linux users group and see if it will let you play on one of its machines. Take cookies. Tech people can almost always be bribed with sugar-based snacks.
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