By JULES ALLEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 11, 2000
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Compute against cancer
Computing for a cause is catching on, through distributed computing models such as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at Home, or SETI. The idea is that you donate your spare computer time to crunch data and numbers for others. Parabon is the first commercial venture I've come across that will pay you to use spare CPU time on your Windows PC. Or, on a yet-to-be-specified date, it will donate that cash to a charity of your choice. Mac and Linux versions are promised, but that's a very trendy thing to do these days.
Something to chew on
I couldn't tear my eyes away from this sardonic beauty. It's a bizarre, oh-so-straight discussion on what kind of meat to serve for special occasions and presented in a deadpan style. Of course the '50s to '70s style images that are peppered throughout help set the tone. What really made me laugh was the surreal lesson and quiz that followed each section.
Have crew cut, will travel
Maybe being a military brat is perfect preparation for today's high-tech job scene: You spend enough time to get to know a few people, make some friends, find out where the bathrooms are and then leave for another gig. That's hard for an adult, but perhaps kids are more resilient. Maybe that's why there seems to be such a bond between military brats who are powerless throughout the whole process. This site was passed on by a friend who used it and found a long-lost chum from her youth.
Okay, it's an ad for a large computer company that really doesn't need the press. But it's beautiful and almost an interactive work of art. The game requires Macromedia's Shockwave plugin. After it has loaded, you move your cartoon bird through the obstacles to find a cartoon worm before time runs out. But feast your peepers on the hilarious and well-done graphic rendering of the landscape and the obstacles. Naturally it's a game that simpler life forms such as chimps or journalists can win with ease and could be perfect for a Monday morning when you don't feel like working.
Free paint for the Mac
This free application certainly isn't going to put Photoshop publisher Adobe out of business. But if you've got a Mac and are in need of a pretty good pixel mangler, the price is right. And so are the resources: It requires at least System 6.0.8 and a measly megabyte of RAM. As I've mentioned in previous columns, if you've got $50 kicking around, get the absolutely brilliant ColorIt from Micro Frontier. FuturePaint is a demo of what can be done with a programming language called FutureBasic.
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