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© St. Petersburg Times, published May 15, 2000

Surf's up . . .

All wireless, all the time

The terrible thing about leaving one's house after getting used to a cable modem or DSL connection is that you have to give up e-mail. I've been blessed with a RIM 950 pager, a truly revolutionary e-mail-on-the-hip device. But if I had a Palm V personal organizer instead of my chunkier Palm IIIx, I'd seriously take a look at what's offered from OmniSky. After paying about the same price you paid for your Palm for the necessary modem/cradle hardware, you get unlimited wireless Internet access for a flat-rate monthly fee of $40. Friends in the business claim Palm's own service is awfully slow so here's hoping OmniSky offers a incentive for better, cheaper, faster via the competition method. OmniSky appears to be the first service that works with the Palm V.

Why use a phone?

While we're on the subject of wireless, here's an insightful look at what those Euro types are up to and how they might leapfrog us with wireless Internet access. Industry analysts and some users are going loopy over these phones. I'm an early adopter of the first degree but, for the life of me, I cannot see what the attraction is. Just typing in a URL using a numeric keypad is enough to give you carpel thumb and the information returned on those teeny screens makes reading difficult.

Beans for less beans

I'm fascinated by what places such as Priceline are trying to do with grocery stores. The premise seems to be that by bringing mountains of customers to the stores through the Web, the huddled masses who are yearning for, say, cheaper soap, get it for a few pennies less. While the grocery stores sell the soap for less money, they sell more of it and, in theory, more than make up the difference through volume. And Priceline gets a cut. Winn-Dixie has joined the fray so please share your thoughts if you try this service.


Many things about the 2000 model of Apple's PowerBook grabbed my attention and made me spend my hard-earned money on one. As luck would have it, I got busy and didn't buy video editing software; Apple wanted a sliver under a thousand bucks for FinalCut Pro and other packages were almost as expensive. Well, FireWire PowerBook and G4 owners rejoice: Apple has released iMovie, the same software that made the iMac DV such a hit, for free on its Web site. It's not high-end but, for putzing around with home movies, it's at least worth the lengthy download to see if it'll work for you.

Geek of the week

A friend was griping about the state of laptops and how the light and portable ones had such lousy screens. I enjoy the back problems caused by my technology-stuffed backpack but others, it seems, don't appreciate the trade-off. I sniffed around for laptop alternatives and stumbled on the Espresso, a fully functional PC that you can put in your pocket. You're not going to be able to use this one on the plane because it doesn't have a keyboard or monitor. But if you regularly shuffle a laptop from home to office and don't use it in between, this could work. Your familiar customized desktop follows you around and your data will be in one place. It runs all the variants of Windows (except 3.1 and, of course, CE) and Linux.

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