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© St. Petersburg Times, published February 19, 2001

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Restoration project

Once the darling of the geek and power searcher set, Deja has seen better times. Its original business was indexing posts from Usenet, the Net's global bulletin board discussion service. It flirted with being the electronic gadget review king, but that went over like the proverbial lead balloon. Now it has been acquired by Google, the search engine folks, who promise to put all of Deja's missing Usenet content back online. Deep joy. Searches are much faster, but not having access to the old posts really makes my job harder.

Exactly where art thou?

You'll never need to ask that question again, that's for sure. Just strap one of these dandy oversize watchlike GPS tracking devices to a child, pet or subordinate and you'll be able to locate him in a jiffy. Sadly, mischievous kids do things such as not wearing the Personal Locator when instructed, so while the site doesn't mention it, you know everybody's thinking about a surgically implantable version. Or, maybe that's just me thinking they're all out to get me.

Primate appeal

Bugs Bunny is a tour de force of sarcasm, wit and exceptionally well-presented adult humor. Thankfully, cartoons placate kids, too, and provide one of those rare moments where a father can sit down with his son and not use words such as repayment, disappointed or legal action. HiMonkey isn't quite in the wascally wabbit's league but it shows promise. It's a deadpan presentation of the adventures of a small, stuffed toy. Quite amusing.

Mapping viruses

This latest round of viruses has squashed my stealthy way of getting boring business documents read. Instead of naming files with titles such as "rambling-product-specs.doc," they would get interesting monikers such as "flying-cats.jpg.doc." Ah well, thanks to the recent Anna Kournikova virus outbreak, corporate types are getting wise to the fact that a file with .jpg in the name does not an interesting graphic make. On the subject of interesting graphics and viruses, have a squint at McAfee's real-time virus hot spot Web site. Very cool.

I'm sorry, Dave

Quick, what happens when you mate HAL, the lovable computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, with Zippy the Pinhead? Deskbots, of course. This software installs on your Mac and generally amuses the daylights out of anybody in earshot or annoys them depending on their mood at the time. Registration will cost you $15, but this software costs nothing to play with until you decide.

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