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© St. Petersburg Times, published September 25, 2000

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When the manual's missing

Now here's a site worth bookmarking for any popular (or not so popular) computer platform. On one hand it's a way of finding the documentation that came with your printer and scanner after you recklessly threw the manuals away with the box. On the other hand, it'll keep you informed of bugs and updates for many popular applications such as browsers, e-mail programs and office productivity software. Obviously most versions of Windows are covered, but there's also support for the Mac and Linux.

Savvy seniors

The ever-so-cuddly French have caught on to the fact that the 50-plus crowd is as desirable, maybe even more so, than the traditionally coveted 15-to-35-year-old advertising demographic. Especially online. This Euro senior set has an abundance of time, money and curiosity, according to this article. Don't hold your breath for this part of the world getting savvy to this idea, though. This bit of North America is consumed with youth worship. Tall, angular, thin, rich youths, that is.

No log files? No problem!

Having a third party such as or make your Web site searchable is a good way to go for many small Web sites. These services are mostly free and efficient, much like SuperStats is when it comes down to keeping track of who is visiting your site. Depending on your service provider, you may not be able to get raw log files for your Web site, and, even if you get them, you might need to cough up money for expensive software to make sense of them. Enter SuperStats to take care of the problem. The free service comes in a Lite version or a banner-ad powered version.

How do you feel about that?

Publication of Joseph Weizenbaum's semi-famous artificial intelligence program ELIZA was a seminal event in the mid-1960s. ELIZA doesn't quite pass the Turing Test, the idea that humans and computers could interact and not know which was which, but it certainly has allowed others to get closer to this dubious goal. It has been converted to many operating systems and languages, including a Mac-based interface to America Online's popular Instant Messenger program. This site contains many transcripts from ELIZA's interactions, often with hilarious conclusions.

A phone pal

Computer-generated reminder e-mails have been around since some bright spark came up with a decent scheduling utility for Unix. But having a computer call you on the phone, for free, and remind you to do something is verging on the edge of useful. If you answer the phone, that is. IPing does knee-jerk things like wake you up, remind you when to take your medication and so forth. But it also will tell you when a package has been delivered (very useful) or call a bunch of your friends to broadcast a message (quite annoying). Great ideas, but please do the world a favor and inflict it on just yourself.

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