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Site Seeing


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 14, 2001

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Your car needs you

Car people will flip over this site (unless they have an extensive paper system in place). And the rest of us will get a lot of benefit, too. It's a free place to keep those tedious car service details tidy. Perhaps the best feature is being reminded when it's time for an oil change. Ideally, one's car would talk directly to the site, which might sound fanciful today but probably could be run of the mill in a few years.

Cartoon clunkers

My guess is that cartoon studios stopped audience testing characters in the '70s and '80s, which might explain atrocities such as Scrappy Doo and Grape Ape. Or perhaps they started pandering to kids rather than the whole family. Maybe the kids were charged up on soda and cookies when voting "yes" for Scrappy. We'll never know. Here's a collection of cartoon characters that were trotted out for public view and then promptly put back in the pencil case. Cartoon Network devotees will surely recognize some, while others remain a mystery.

Less ads, more speed

My newest favorite ad blocker can be found at this site. I've mentioned Junkbuster in the past and explained why it's not fit for humans. This, while a little geeky, is worth the effort. Like most ad-blocking proxies, it sits between your browser and the Web and does a very good job of extracting banner ads from your sight. It's Windows-only, but it can be configured to allow other machines on a network to use it. Boy, is the Web faster with this!

A builder's builder

Just because you can make whizzy, flashy graphics on a Web site doesn't mean that you should. No more than using every font and food-oriented clip art item in your possession makes the company picnic flier more legible. Somewhere between high art and visual distraction lies the road to usability, the art of making a Web site functional, unobtrusive and easy on the brain. SiteCritique is a great starting point if you have a passing interest in building a better mousetrap.

Smacks of hits

There are two types of people on the planet: those who think counters are the bee's knees and those who don't. Counters, in the Web sense, are those incremental numbers at the bottom of some Web pages. The theory is that every time somebody views your page, the counter adds one to the total, odometer like. If you're into that kind of thing, you might like this site. It's a counter-meets-Tamagotchi idea. In addition to tracking your page hits, the little animated character does its best to amuse.

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