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© St. Petersburg Times, published July 10, 2000

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Secure e-mail from work

A while ago I was wildly excited about services such as and the privacy they provide for e-mail at places where snooping is the norm. (Hey, if they're out to get you, that doesn't make you paranoid.) But it meant changing e-mail addresses, which is less than desirable for some people. If you get your e-mail from your Internet service provider in POP3 flavor, a common delivery medium, all is not lost: Fire up this free site, click on the log-in button and enter a few details. Your e-mail is available to you just as if you were at home. The key is that this site is encrypted, so it makes snooping harder. If you use Microsoft's Internet Explorer with Windows, you can tell it not to cache encrypted pages, which further aids your privacy. Sorry, it doesn't work with America Online mail.

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Foodie's delight

I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy food. A lot. And with this ever-expanding waistline, it's getting harder to hide the fact. So is my new best friend. Sure, it's got all of the big chain restaurants (replete with menus that vary as much as the time drifts on the atomic clock), but it also has some of the more interesting little guys. Fire it up and search your little hearts out by ZIP code, cuisine type or restaurant name.

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On the money

My goodness! The government (well, a bit of it anyway) has become exceptionally hip and produced an informative, Flash-powered Web site to promote the new currency in your pocket. Find out why funny money is harder to make and what you can do if you suspect somebody's trying to pass you a fistful of dud Hamiltons. It's interesting that the Department of Treasury has enough cash lying around to produce such a groovy site. Producing Flash animation can get quite expensive. Maybe that's what they do with the $50s that fall between the machinery.

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Zager and Evans need not apply

Who said we'd all be whizzing around in jet cars come the year 2000? Almost everybody in the 1950s, that's for sure. Instead we sheepishly unloaded cash machines in late December on the chance that the doom and gloom loonies were right about that double digit bug thing. Nothing like a good bit of scare-mongering for a call to action, eh? Not put off by this rather obvious smattering of recent history, the Economist and Shell Oil are keen to divide up 65 grand should your political, economic and technological vision of tomorrow tickle their fancy.

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Linux hardware detection glee

Bless those Mandrake people. Their version of Linux is the first I've found to work out of the box with my weird Intel i810 video card. I should have known better and spent a few bucks more for a well-known and open specification video chipset. It's not as if I haven't been through this before: This machine's sister contains an Intel i740 and for the week it was on the market, not even Intel seemed very interested in it. Okay, it wasn't really a week but in this age of rapidly decaying product lifetimes, this seemed to slope off with rapid abandon. Most modern flavors of Linux do a decent job of detecting other hardware, and this one is no exception. The install itself was as easy as Corel's, and there are nice advanced tweakie bits for super geeks. It's well worth the download.

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