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By JULES ALLEN, Times Correspondent

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 18, 2001

Survivor, Japanese style
Readers know my disdain for television. I rarely watch the thing, but I'm enjoying the Survivor/Big Brother reality TV show fad vicariously. Sometimes I confuse the show characters with family members of the person relating the tale, which leads to some very interesting water cooler conversations. But how I wish I lived in Japan! They have taken the genre to an extreme as TV tends to do in those parts. Read with a mixture of horror and fascination about Nasubi's year of being locked in an apartment and how he eventually freed himself by winning mail-in contests. Cruel and unusual punishment I say.

Watching the watchers
This free Windows-only software alerts you to Web Bugs. Although they sound as if they are built in to your browser software and make it crash at just the wrong moment, in reality they're invisible tracking devices. And using a simplistic approach, this software shows these Web Bugs to you. Even if you use a Mac or Linux, visit the site and read the Frequently Asked Questions. You'll get a much better idea of how Big Brother watches what you do online.

Quite silly
James Kibo Parry is a legend for those who used the Usenet bit of the Internet pre-commercialization. It would take more space here than one could rightfully justify to say why, but there's a Frequently Asked Questions section on this site for the truly curious. The short version is he's a bit of a wag, totally impressed with himself and, among other things, houses a collection of G rated photos here. They might make you snicker if you're not into working this morning.

Uncle Buck
It should be really interesting to see how this one plays out. The premise is that instead of your parents scrimping and saving for many years to send you off to college, you get financing through this place. When you graduate and get a job flipping burgers because your qualifications in Medieval French poetry don't cut it in corporate America, you pay a percent of your income for a designated period of time. All on prearranged terms, of course.

Don't look up
If I ever got stuck on a desert island with someone, I'm not sure if I'd pick somebody yummy such as Jamie Lee Curtis or a practical type such as McGuyver. You know McGuyver would have you off the island within 60 minutes (including commercial breaks), so you'd stand a better chance of dating Jamie Lee once back in civilized parts. If McGuyver was busy that day, maybe David Cash would come along. Here's a chap that has fashioned a powerful astronomical camera from some bits he found under his bed, or somewhere like that. Oh-h-h and ah-h-h at the nifty pictures of the International Space Station and other celestial bodies on this page.

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