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Site Seeing


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 5, 2001

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Going Postal

Yes, that's a long address, but boy is it worth the effort. Here's a collection of things you wished you had thought of mailing but never had the courage to. The list of mailed items includes things that have been deemed valuable, sentimental, unwieldy, pointless, potentially suspicious and disgusting. It's a hysterical romp that'll bring a smile to your face the next time you spend your entire lunchtime standing in line for stamps.

Ring Ma Bell

Saying native Floridian David Massey is a man with a passion for phones is stating the obvious. You'll find an almost overwhelming amount of information on the Bell Telephone System here. It's a good read for anybody with a passing interest in a service we take for granted. It chronicles everything from the birth of the telephone, as invented by Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell, to the demise of the monopoly in the early '80s. The depth of information is stunning and, with the exception of hawking his CD-ROM, it's a refreshing change from the ad-laden, content-light sites that are all too common.

Secure and free browsing

Quick! Use this site before the anti-Web-at-work backlash takes hold. I'm talking, of course, of the impending Web-free work environment many will endure over the next couple of years. Pretty soon, it will be back to having to read the newspaper and talking with your chums on the phone to while away the hours between 9 and 5. Nanny filters are everywhere and probably watch your every move at your place of work. But one thing they're not very good at is monitoring encrypted communications. So if you use this free service, Big Brother is going to have a hard time watching your Web-surfing habits and those subversive sites you visit. You know, Monster, Career Builder, Hotmail and such.

Testing the metal

Ah yes, just what I need. It's not enough to get strip-searched every time I fly, so I think I'll order up a bunch of these little beauties and see how the airport metal detectors like them. If your charm, wit and repartee aren't enough to have people remember you, perhaps you can make an impression by having your name, company and number cut out of stainless steel. I haven't seen it all yet, but I think it's on the horizon.

An easy connection

Mac OS 9 has a pretty nifty built-in feature that allows you to specify preferences for network settings. So you could, say, set up a location for home, on the road and one for the office. Or a friend's office or home and easily flip between each. Windows 2000 inadvertently offers this feature when you accidentally insert your Ethernet PC Card in the wrong slot on your laptop. But unless you realize what has happened, chances are you'll just guess that your network connection has bombed. IBM's hit-and-miss Alphaworks site knocks one out of the park with EasyConnect, a free utility for Windows that covers pretty much what the Mac does. It's about 5 megabytes, so it's a modem-friendly download.

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