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© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 1999

Welcome to the future

The Web is interesting from a grazer's perspective, but it's not a lot of good for machines. Machines like to categorize things. The Web's content markup language makes it very hard for them, which is why search engines are so terrible. But an exciting technology called XML is about to change everything. Click over to this site, which replicates content from four very popular Web destinations, to get an idea of what tomorrow's Web will look like. Come to think of it, it'll make a grazer's life much more interesting, too.

More, for less

One of the great bargains of our time has to be the domain name. For a mere $35 a year, a company such as gets to keep its now famous URL and continues to try to make money (it will, one day). But if you're starting your dot-com on a shoe string budget, click over to TotalNIC and save yourself some money. Here you can register two years worth of for $35 instead of the $70 Network Solutions wants.

Hey presto!

Could this be magic? Nah, just touch sensors. It's a very nifty idea though: a concept mouse that automatically shows or hides menu bars based on where your hands are. If they're on the mouse, the tool bars show, and if they're not, they're hidden. With the exception of that last keyboard it churned out, Microsoft makes some stellar hardware. This will be a winner if it gets out of the labs.

Send a Vet a card

Nov. 11 is Veterans Day. What better way to thank your favorite, wired Vet than with a free e-card from the American Legion's site? There are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard themes available, and the recipient has three weeks to pick it up.

Streaming for free

One of my least favorite things is hitting a Web page, reading the content and then, minutes later, being alarmed out of my gourd when a gargantuan sound file starts playing. The problem with these sound files is that they need to download before they can play -- sort of like having to go to the video store every time you want to watch the news. Streaming audio, until now, has been expensive and difficult to set up. But fire up It will take your old format sound files, convert them to a streaming format and host them for free. So no more waiting to frighten me out of my tree.

Thank you for listening

We recently touched on the idea that there are about 6-billion people on this planet and most of them have yet to make a phone call, let alone buy anything online. This article seems to suggest that rather than eventually running out of space and food, we might see a population peak during our lifetime and then a gradual decline. Could humanity finally be waking up and doing the right thing? Or has humanity stopped by a Toys "R" Us one Saturday morning and been totally put off by the screaming examples of smaller humanity?

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