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© St. Petersburg Times, published October 23, 2000

Going, going, gone

Misery loves company, and so does failure if the number of dot-com-on-the-rocks sites is a yardstick. The days of free massages, unlimited venture capital and dogs in the office have truly whizzed by. It makes the "Me''/Reagan era seem positively benevolent. This site seems to be one of the better ones, because it addresses all kinds of things that have gone down the tubes, not just the dot-com failure du jour.

Yet another poll

Here's an interesting idea with lousy delivery. Planet Project wants to poll humanity between Nov. 15 and 18 and ask a few questions on what it's like to be human. And, so the site goes, you'll get to see real-time answers from your fellow bipeds as you complete each question. Questions are posed in languages such as Portuguese, French, Dutch, Spanish and so on. So far, so good. The execution falls short, however, because the Web is perhaps the most stupid delivery vehicle I could imagine. If you want to get the state of humanity as it pertains to white, well-off North Americans, the Web is perfect. Considering most of the planet has yet to see a phone, a browser is just plain nuts. Try again in 50 years perhaps.

An option for Mom

Here's a nifty-looking gadget from Honeywell that rivals the better-publicized 3Com Audrey. It's based around Windows CE, so it'll talk to your Windows desktop with ease. Apparently you can roam about 150 feet from the base station, which isn't bad at all. The base station can do the modem thing, as well as DSL or cable modem. Why you'd want to hook this to broadband is beyond me, but there you go. It could be a usable computer option for Mom this holiday season.

How silly

This site is silly at first glance, but it takes Macromedia's Flash plug-in in a new direction. Shockwave, a sister product to Flash, has several multi-user games. This is a multi-user, experimental environment where you can move your character around and interact with other players. It's hours of fun for those with time on their hands or those with small children who enjoy this sort of thing.

Let me count the ways

Like ancient personal computers, say from the '70s, calculators also have avid collectors. And Nigel Tout can be counted in their ranks. His site has a distinctly British flavor (or is that flavour?) and features many pre-1971 calculators that clunked through the old pounds, shillings and pence currency system of the time. And, if you're British and ever tried to learn the old currency system in school post-1971, you were in for a numerical treat. Ah, I fondly recall the detention hours I spent with my math-addled brain trying to figure out how I would exact revenge on the idiot who came up with it.

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