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© St. Petersburg Times, published March 6, 2000

Explosive stuff

I'm head gearhead for a local group of programming types. During our infrequent face-to-face meetings, the talk almost always gives way to interesting ways to blow things up. Not in a malicious way, of course. The enjoyment revolves around the same delight one gets from a fireworks show. And what better fireworks could there be than the period of wanton, thoughtless testing and mass destruction that was the nuclear arms race? Chuckle with the whole family as you enjoy video clips of baby kiloton devices that grew up to become thermonuclear bombs that could hilariously flatten cities. Forgive my sarcasm. Show these to your kids and let's hope humanity might save itself from itself.

Indecision 2000

There are many factors to weigh in deciding one's choice of political leader. Do they look too smug when they smile (Bush)? Is their hair parted in just the wrong way (McCain)? Do they back out when things start to get interesting (Forbes)? And, more important, does their campaign Web site's HTML conform to the purity test? The thought of supporting a presidential candidate who endorses proprietary HTML is a matter close to the hearts of techies from sea to shining sea. Do what's right in your heart and view the source on the candidates' sites, Luke, before your own personal Indecision 2000.

An easier transfer for Mac users

As a consumer of all the things the Web has to offer, you've probably downloaded a file or two via FTP. FTP is an efficient, network-bandwidth friendly way of getting large files and has been a staple feature since the very oldest browsers crawled out of the primeval sludge. While they offer basic FTP download capability, browsers don't generally do uploads, which is bad news if your work involves creating Web content. Mac OS doesn't attempt to offer full FTP features, so a third party utility is a must. I tried four and was charmed by's Transmit. It's the only one with a genuine Mac feel, drag and drop for just about everything, and a cheeky attitude ("their stuff" instead of "remote files" makes me smile). You can try it for free, but it will start nagging you after 15 days. Shelling out the $25 to register the program is an honorable thing to do and encouraged.

Clock watching

I've always thought expressing time as an abstract concept was a great conversation starter when running half an hour late. It seems that my Windows hardware is as non-linear as the human that owns it. The clock drifts about five minutes a day, much like my own internal clock. Rather than packing up and moving to a different time zone every 12 days, download a free copy of WorldTime and bully your computer's clock into chronological compliance. It's Windows only but that's not a big deal because Mac OS 9 and just about any flavor of Linux/Unix can time synch without the aid of third-party software. In addition to the useful synching, WorldTime offers a slew of goodies such as multiple time zone clocks, alarms, astronomical data and a useful time calculator.

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