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© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 1999

Plane and simple living

After marveling at the geek-cool factor of living in a converted Boeing 727, my thoughts turned to where you might get one. Do you swing by the airport in the wee hours of the morning and help yourself? There are so many on the tarmac, surely they wouldn't miss one. And it's not like you can pop down the Buy Here, Pay Here place and trade in your old Chevy for a slightly used, one-owner airliner. While this question wasn't answered, lots of others are on this fascinating site.

Finally, free phone calls

Internet telephony was initially a hit-and-miss proposition. Then some bright sparks came out with PC-to-phone gateways. While the gateways were pretty nifty, you didn't save that much money -- not a good trade-off for the inconvenience factor. Now has come out with Windows-only software that allows you to place free calls anywhere in the United States. It claims that it's working on Mac and Linux versions and that international coverage is coming soon. I always have thought that voice communications eventually would be free, but I thought the telephone companies would beat the small guys to the punch.

Eye candy alert

Strap on your version 4 or later browser and head over to this gorgeous site. It requires a registration to get to the really good stuff but membership is free and will get you a 10 percent discount at the site's store. While there's no advertising (yet), I'm guessing this is how it will make money. During my visit, I saw the American Century exhibit and took a wander through the equally excellent Van Gogh's Van Goghs. More culture than a penicillin factory.

Split directory

Opening up the registration process for the domains that end in .com, .net and .org is a wonderful thing. This means that one company will no longer have control over the registration process. Unfortunately, the company that used to have the control is none too keen to hand over or merge the registration databases. For you and me, this means we have to check in more than one place to find out about a domain. Quite inconvenient. But not only simplifies reference to .com and friends, it's also an interface to the planet's domain registries. You won't play more domain games when you bookmark this gem.

Problem between chair and keyboard

Every profession that deals with the public has war stories. Users with a hard-of-thinking affliction are legendary in the computer field, and such tales are recounted on a daily basis on this site. Recently, there was a contest to find the most brain-dead situation in nerd history. Eat your heart out, Dilbert, this is for real.

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