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© St. Petersburg Times, published November 6, 2000

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If you have an e-mail address such as and don't have a laptop, you might find this service useful if you travel. Or maybe you just want to have your Yahoo e-mail read to you in a computerized voice while out and about. HeyAnita is a free service that will read stock quotes, weather conditions and the obligatory news headlines. Considering that Yahoo mail can check most e-mail formats, this might be useful to everybody.

A touch of nostalgia

There's something compelling about looking back at old print advertising that I just can't put my finger on. Is it because these ads remind us of fun from yesteryear, or is it perhaps that I'm longing for simpler times? If you lust for the days when Steve Jobs wore a bow tie, Radio Shack didn't ask you for your home address to buy batteries and CB was the height of personal communications, you should stop what you're doing and fire up AdFlip.

A rose by any other name

My mind obviously dances to the beat of a different drummer. The first thing I thought of when I stumbled on this site was John Water's classic film Polyester. Filmed in scratch-'n'-sniff-powered Odorama, one scratched the numbered card when the corresponding digit appeared on the silver screen. Somewhere in a coffee shop, the next, great undiscovered Waters-like filmmaker is writing a script that will take full advantage of DigiScent's iSmell (I kid you not). No, it's not April 1 and, yes, this is a product you hook to your PC that emits smells on command from Web pages. And I thought all the really dumb ideas had been burned out during the recent dot-com crash.

We like it loud

If I could do it all again, I'd spend some serious time learning how to play the drums or something equally loud. Music that pushes its way around and demands an audience, willing or not, is clearly where the action is. Truth be told, the drums were my dream instrument until I found out about the blisteringly Teutonic Large Hot Pipe Organ. In a nutshell, it's a MIDI-controlled, propane-powered instrument that make sounds by exploding propane and air in its pipes. In theory, you could play this monster via modem from a safe distance, say a few miles away, and live to use your ears again. I think I'm in love.

Let the geek games begin

Geeks, rejoice! Finally, we have an Olympic sport we can take pride in. Actually, it's not really an Olympic sport, but if it were, I might be a contender. The idea behind this Shockwave-enabled game is for you, the nerd, to type in HTML, Basic, ASP or Lingo code as accurately as possible within the time limits. Sounds easier than it is because most of the coders I know are lazy and let the computer do all of the hard work for them. It's fun for programmers and wanna-bes of all ages.

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