By JULES ALLEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 23, 2001
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A sharing thing
Sometimes I'll haul my cynical old self out of bed and be extremely annoyed at anything that doesn't count caffeine as one of its main ingredients. People in general and Bob Edwards of National Public Radio are common targets. And then, just as I'm about to pack up and move to Mars, sites such as BookCrossing come into focus. It's a simple idea that has a great deal of social value. You take your beloved old books, slap a label inside and leave them somewhere conspicuous. Then, if the idea works, the person who finds it will enjoy and pass it along in a similar fashion. That's beautiful, man. It almost makes me want to return all those library books I borrowed in the '70s.
Give me hope
Sadly those vacuous success-style posters and desktop gizmos continue to insult and pollute offices across the nation. Does anybody think they do any good? We've touched on the odd commercial supplier of anti-success materials in the past, but here's a great source of free print and hang-on-the-wall material. You'll need a PDF reader from Adobe and, if you do not have it, there's a link to get a copy on this site.
As the sun sets on a chapter of the Net that shall be known as Napster, a young geek's mind turns to thoughts of a replacement. Just where are you going to get all of those MP3s and pirated software now? Don't worry. Gnutella is here to fill the void until something a little more scalable comes along. And if you're on the Windows platform, BearShare is the client of choice.
Coming to terms with taste
It didn't take me too long to figure out that Coke is a generic name for carbonated sugar water here in the South, regardless of what that large Atlanta beverage manufacturer's lawyers may want you to think. In the Northeast, though, it's called soda. Midwesterners want you to give them pop or death, by all accounts. What this site lacks in graphical whiz, it makes up for with pure facts and figures on who calls the beverage what in different regions. It requires a recent Java-enabled browser to get the nifty interactive map, but older versions can access the less interactive graphic version.
Fantasy of an Orkin Man
Okay, put the mouse down and back away from the computer. If you're lacking in an appreciation of classic art and a sense of humor, that is. Here you'll find such classic titles as the Cabbage of Temptation, the Chiropractor and His Patient and Chicken Delivery Service. If the faux art wasn't enough to do you in, the hilarious descriptions will finish the job. It's all politically incorrect on the largest of scales and an absolute riot.
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