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© St. Petersburg Times, published March 13, 2000

Considerable progress

I moaned and complained about not long ago. It was once owned by the mighty Microsoft but was acquired in 1999 by City Search. Back in the bad old days, I was particularly irked by how halfhearted the content was for Tampa Bay. What made it worse was that places such as San Francisco had great content, so good things clearly were possible. Maybe I wasn't the only one who thought this way since the local version has blossomed. It's now rich with good restaurant reviews, upcoming events and classified ads. It's well worth a visit and maybe even start page consideration if you go out more than you stay in.

AirPort-like devices for PCs

I rejoined the Apple Mac faithful because of Apple and Lucent's AirPort wireless local area network technology. I'm composing this column on my patio, listening to the birds chirp at sunset and sneezing as if I were trapped in a pepper factory. Ah, allergies in the spring. Should you be a PC type, you too can expose your lungs to an (un)healthy dose of the outside with Orinoco, wireless cards and base stations for the Windows platform. Your wireless wanderings may include roaming around your house or office rather than venturing to the great outdoors, but who am I to impose on your cordless liberties? Sadly, you will have to pay more than Mac types because, for probably the first time in history, the official Apple gear costs less. Let's hope Steve Jobs doesn't catch wind of this. He might need another new jet or something.

Free images

A co-worker recently inquired about an inexpensive place to get some clip art because a project was in need of a little visual spice. Rather than pictures of yours truly from last Halloween, I dispatched her to Corel's Clip Art City. You can choose to pay $30 a year, or have free access. The difference is you have access to more than 1-million images if you open your wallet as opposed to a mere 110,000 for giving up your e-mail address. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about clip art, for me at least, is that everybody dresses like they're from Austin Powers. Who said bell bottoms were dead?

What the doctor ordered

This site offers a searchable database of national medical research studies and information on how one can apply to be part of a trial. It's not a site for everybody. If you're not sure why you need to use this site, then you probably don't need access. It's primarily for those with serious diseases, their family members and physicians. But to me it's a great example of getting otherwise hard-to-access information into the hands of those who need it.

A view of Big Iron

Like most of the PC generation, my perception of mainframes leans toward proprietary, expensive and old-fashioned. As this rather insightful article points out, this is a quite common view from the uninitiated. If you skip past the simpering praise of both Linux and IBM's OS/390, there are some rather insightful and technically meaty bits to be savored. I know several mainframe jockeys who crow about how wonderful their Big Iron boxes are. They're more obnoxious than even I can be, so it took an article like this to open my eyes.

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