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© St. Petersburg Times, published February 12, 2001

Ancestry search

For Black History Month, this site has made its Slave Narratives database free until March. Some of the information is fascinating and provides a good impression of what it must have been like to be a slave in the South. The interviews took place between 1929 and 1939 and, supposedly, were recorded verbatim. If you are looking for genealogy resources or are just curious, this is a great site for self-education.

At least the ads scored

Once every 10 years or so I'll take the time to watch the Super Bowl. And, as luck would have it, I must have caught a repeat because the game I saw was in Tampa and featured confusing action punctuated by long periods of not a lot going on. The ads were brilliant, though, and held my attention more than the Guinness did. Just in case you missed them or don't have a TV, those kind souls at AdCritic have placed the lot on the Web for you. Windows Media and QuickTime versions make it cross-platform friendly (unless you're a Unix user).

Patently stupid

I wish it was stupid, but it's very scary. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has seen fit to register the inverse of the smiley emoticon. So, technically, you could owe money by using a frownie in an e-mail. Absurd, no? Equally absurd is Amazon patenting one-click shopping and British Telecom claiming it owns hyperlinking. Clearly the patent office doesn't police the validity of claims and lets the courts sort it out. Maybe I should have become a (bad) lawyer instead of a (bad) writer.

Travel flat

Those smart folks over at iBiz produce a rather nifty must-have for the space-conscious Palm organizer owner. It's a synchronization cradle that folds flat. If that were not enough, it works with the Palm V and Palm III series machine. Why can't more vendors do this? Handspring owners are served with a version, too. Hook either to the KeySync keyboard and you almost have a laptop killer. It's a little odd on an airline tray table, but you soon get used to it. This page also lists a few other 'why didn't I think of that?' Palm accessories. So many palm-size toys, so little time.

Geek joy

What could be more fun than a site detailing the virtues of the Linux operating system, the Apache Web server, free database MySQL and your favorite scripting language that starts with a "P''? Not a lot if you have little or no clue as to what any of that means. If you do, though, it's the equivalent of a lovefest of open source information in one convenient place. ">

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