By JULES ALLEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 2, 2001
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Office XP is upon us and IT departments across the land collectively groan at updating umpteen PCs with yet another new version. No matter, IT folks are a testy, socially inept bunch and make their own career choices. You, as an end user, have the hard work done for you, so give the help desk a break and brush up on the new version of Microsoft Office (or learn new things about the version you've got). This site will send you a free Office-oriented newsletter just for asking. They hope you'll upgrade to the $1-a-month premium edition, of course. The site looks like it's just getting started and content is scant. The premiere newsletter on the site isn't half bad, so there's potential.
Men of a certain age, so this site carps, have a propensity to slip into a Gambleresqe look as sported by a 1978 Kenny Rogers: the hair, the beard, the leather jerkin' and a desire to put an arm or two around Dolly Parton. I hope middle age holds a Steve Jobs look for me because I'd get to wear jeans to board meetings. If carpal tunnel doesn't get you after typing in the domain name, make sure that your browser has the latest Flash (www.flash.com) plug-in. Very, very funny.
Poor Microsoft. Everybody wants a piece of it. But it looks as if a little smooth sailing might be ahead now that that pesky antitrust thing is all but closed. The Department of Justice almost has been dispatched, and the Land Mine folks are next. They're nitpicking about the true meaning of that WinMine game on your Windows PC. When you think about it, there's a valid complaint in the claim. The loss of human life is very real and it's estimated that 800 civilians a month perish because of mislaid mines. So, try flowers and butterflies instead by using this free replacement game. If you don't want to load it onto your PC, you can play it online.
The Random Surrealism Generator will add some much-needed oddness to your otherwise staid Web site and your visitors will be astounded by your witty choice in pseudo banner ads. Why make money by sending folks away from your site when you can charm them? Code Jockeys can guffaw at the surreal error messages for programmers and Bard of Avon groupies have surreal Shakespearian quotes at their disposal. Something for everybody, apparently.
The smiles! The hair! The megalomania! You've got to admit today's shoddily dressed dictators had nothing on the sartorial elegance of tyrants from yesteryear. Be it a basic set of fatigues for daytime wear or something with a lot of medals for formal evenings, Western youths have looked East for inspiration, especially because it would irk the devil out of their square parents. Here you'll find a bunch of crazy artwork focused around Stalin, Castro, Mao and lesser entities. It's something to inspire modern hipsters to wear pants that don't show off their underwear. We can live in hope.