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Site-seeing

By JULES ALLEN

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 22, 1999


Do the funky gerbil!

http://www.hamsterdance.com

Do your dear little children absolutely love repetition? Can the little monsters sit down and watch a Barney/Disney/Rugrats video until the tape is worn thinner than a Victoria's Secret undergarment? Then this page will positively enthrall them. It is nothing fancy, just a bunch of animated graphics of dancing rodents and an Alvin and the Chipmunks-esque audio file looping in the background. I'm perfectly comfortable with kids being amused and entertained by things such as this, but the Rocket Scientists in my office were caught deer-like in the Web headlights every time their big ears caught a snatch of the background music. At least I don't have to spoon-feed them anymore.

A case of the bricks

http://www.looppool.com/legomac/

Who decided that putty was a great idea for a computer color? It wasn't IBM -- the original PC was a gray, just as we would expect from Big Blue of the '80s. In the past few years computer cases have started to get a little jazzy, adding daring items such as green plastic power switches. How sassy! When you thought it couldn't get more exciting, Apple went bonkers with the iMac, proving all you have to do to shift loads of old technology is make half the case a translucent color. Ah, but when I spied Tom Owad's Lego Macintosh, I knew this was the case for me! Where are my Lincoln Logs?

Don't look up!

http://www.earthsky.com

Wheel your RealAudio-enabled (http://www.real.com) browser and kids over to this science-oriented site to find out why fat tastes good, if there is sound in space, and if penguins shiver. Of course, there is plenty of content for your budding Einsteins and a fairly decent Teachers' Lounge, too. For those without RealAudio or with a hearing impairment, the text of each audio stream is on every page. Very groovy stuff!

Servers of a different kind

http://www.cybermeals.com

We poked our virtual fork at CyberMeals a while ago and pretty much said "neat idea, shame no local restaurants are participating." Time and bandwidth wait for no man, and CyberMeals hasn't stood still. A search for St. Petersburg found 16 restaurants ready to take your e-order. While a search for Clearwater found 20 restaurants, none was CyberMeals-ready. Like the early days of cellular service, coverage is spotty. Once I found a restaurant I liked, the online ordering worked out the delivery details, taxes and so forth without a flaw. They're getting very close to making this work.

A free lunch? I think not

http://www.free-pc.com

http://pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit19990211.html

If you read Site Seeing regularly, you would get the idea that I'm one of those chaps that goes around being amazed by the slightest technological breakthrough. That is not true. Yes, I write about the things that amaze me and generally keep the things that chap my hide to myself, lest the mighty, sarcastic editorial pen descend upon my column and make me re-work the entire thing. But before I could get the story pitch fired out of my e-mail client, Robert X. Cringely beat me to the punch and eloquently nailed what I was going to write about this whole free PC thing. In a lot less space, of course.

 

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